17 May 2011

Seoul officials ban fur in upcoming Fendi fashion show

The fashion industry attracts a diverse audience of followers: haute couture journalists, fashion-savvy bloggers, celebrities and average shoppers. They all come together every season, seeking the latest trends and that must-have wardrobe staple. Runway shows are essential for a fashion house's display of creative collections, designed by their most prized talents, to the world. Fashion followers can rejoice in the new season's colors, patterns, shapes, shoes, and accessories strutting down a catwalk when a runway show is on.

Yet, not everyone is pleased with the fashion industry, especially those committed to a compassionate lifestyle, who have worked tirelessly to change the use of cruel materials often used in haute couture such as leather, skin, wool, and fur. Although it is often an uphill battle, there are cases in which animal activists can be assured that their voices are in fact heard by decision-makers.

Fendi, the Italian fashion house best known for "baguette" handbags and its origins as a fur and leather shop, was to put on their Fall/Winter runway show in Seoul, South Korea two weeks from now on June 2. The show was to take place on a newly-built floating island on the Han River; a new landmark for the city

After overwhelming complaints from animal rights groups, calling for a ban on fur from the show, Seoul city officials have decided it would be inappropriate to display the controversial pieces on public property. They have instructed Fendi to remove all fur pieces from the show, threatening to cancel it entirely if they do not comply. Fendi's Fall/Winter collection was to feature 40 pieces, including 20 fur pieces.

The Italian fashion house continues to push negotiations, presumably to keep fur in the runway show. In a statement delivered on Sunday, Fendi CEO Michael Burke said, "I'm surprised to learn of Seoul city's decision to possibly cancel the event if Fendi does not remove all fur pieces just two weeks before the event".

Seoul city officials remain strong in their position against the fur pieces. From the looks of things, Fendi will be fighting the uphill battle this time.

Tanya Ayala | @tanya_lua
Tanya is a full-time student at Concordia University, pursuing a BA in Political Science & Professional Writing. She was initially inspired to become vegetarian because of the health benefits, but after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and reading Eating Animals, she realized that her lifestyle had the potential of improving the environment and animal rights.  Follow Tanya on Twitter and on Tumblr.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/uggboy