When will the fashion industry listen? This photo features Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, Angie Dickinson, Amanda Blake and Jayne Meadows wearing lovely fake fur coats, looking up at a camera with hopeful smiles on their faces. This image is from an anti-fur campaign from 1974 for The Fund For Animals, an animal welfare and animal rights group that is still active today.
On its own, the image is misleading. And for anyone who is aware of the lifelong advocacy of two of the women –– Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day –– on behalf of animal welfare and animal rights, it's surprising and prime for speculation.
The photo (separate from its original text) has managed to find some circulation around the internet, posted by curious passersby on blogs and image sharing sites like Pinterest. As is typical, the quick and haphazard sharing of information has skewed the actual meaning of what is being shared. Which is a terrible fate for a photo like this one, which holds such a greater and entirely opposed meaning. The truth can only be known with care and discernment.
Without the text associated with the image for the full campaign that appeared in magazines and publications in 1974, it has come to hold a distressingly erroneous meaning for people. Many who've shared it thought of it as a fun bit of vintage fashion –– simply believing this is a photo of five once-and-still famous ladies wearing real fur.
Knowing a great deal about both Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day and their respective lifetimes of advocacy for animals, my intention has been to share the reality of what the photo and campaign actually meant to say. These five women are decidedly NOT wearing real fur.
The heart-wrenching truth is that this level of hope, compassion, and possibility for real progress –– the ideal being to get humans to stop being so entitled, to see the suffering they've caused and to end it, finally –– has yet to be realized. Many decades later.
|Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, and Angie Dickinson at an event for The Fund For Animals|
Here is the heading: "Five women who could easily afford any fur coat in the world tell why they're proudly wearing fakes." And then: "Fur coats shouldn't be made of fur."
The fashion industry is at its core a creative industry, one that's ever-evolving while recycling from the past. At its core, it is also a business, and that is what drives many of its participants to do what they do. But the decision to sell clothing people are willing to buy, without causing horrifying harm to other species, should be an easy one to make.
Burberry, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Gucci still utilize real fur. Despite her own commendably strong stance against using fur and leather in her designs, Stella McCartney's parent company unfortunately is Gucci.
On the other hand, the Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop & Selfridges, has pledged not to sell fur. The Arcadia Group states in its Fashion Footprint FAQ's: "We are committed to not selling any items made of real fur. All our suppliers are required to sign up to our animal welfare declaration as part of their factory set up. In addition, our internet-based test report system automatically reminds suppliers of our animal welfare policy when they are asked to supply goods made from animal sources."
The long list of designers who continue to use real fur is profoundly long, and their reluctance to stop is both tragic and abhorrent.
to listen to this simple message against cruelty.
More about Jayne Meadows: http://www.stevedalepetworld.com/print-archive/vintage-stories/animal-stories/359-jayne-meadows.
More about Amanda Blake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Blake
(Also published for Vintage Fashion at Examiner.com.)