Fur shame, Project Runway!  »

I generally do not watch Project Runway, especially since they went to that 90-minute format where they try to sell us more HUMAN INTEREST and more of that HORRIBLE WRETCHEN (totally came up with that and have been DYING TO USE IT!), but Allen* was watching it tonight and I was sitting next to him playing “Imagine Artist” on my DS pretending that we were having some semblance of quality time, when one of the designers started talking about how faux-fur looks cheap.

"Yeah, it looks cheap," I told Allen, "Because fur is supposed to be warm and soft and not made of synthetic fibers. BECAUSE ANIMALS USE IT TO KEEP WARM." Allen just ignored me, as he generally does when I start getting righteously indignant about something (eating meat, stigma surrounding mental health services, Danielle Staub of The Real Housewives of New Jersey) and continued watching the show because he had worked a full day and my righteous indignation was the last thing he needed right now, but I was so fired up that I stopped painting my serene digital landscape to glare at the TV to make sure that this Christopher was going to be appropriately chewed out by Tim Gunn for his horrible choices. [Perhaps Bunim-Murray might pop-up a window encouraging viewers to tell the Senate to pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, or remind Californians that our governor hasn’t signed similar legislation, A.B. 1656, into law yet.]

Do you know what happened? Nothing! Tim Gunn, who decimates people (in the nicest way possible) for making DKNY knock-offs and letting WRETCHEN be the leader of anything (god, she is horrible) just stared for a second and then started talking about volume, ignoring the giant SHAVED FUR THING that Heidi Klum later called an “old lady rag-rug” (Schwamm einer alten Frau. Thanks, Google Meave!) or something. HE BOUGHT AND SHAVED A FUR, you guys. And it was both cheap-looking and hella ugly. OH, AND UNIVERSALLY HATED AND MOCKED BY ALL OF THE JUDGES. Also: It was for a Jackie Kennedy challenge, and a quick search reveals that Jackie didn’t even wear fur that much because it was too ostentatious and gaudy (translation: cheap-looking). And this guy is just standing there being all “Oh, I haven’t used fur in a long time/ever before. I don’t know. Whatever. I didn’t even want to do it. It’s just that the other materials, they just looked like the wrong thing to use for my verkrustiges Sporttuch. The only way to do this right was to get in there and SHAVE SOME LEATHER. I’m just going to have to stand by it! Kisses!”

Tim Gunn is anti-fur, so why did he keep quiet when all this was happening? In his extended critique of Christopher’s outerwear, he seems to express dismay at Christopher’s choice of ANIMAL FUR, and encourage him to use the ultrasuede he had also bought instead of the fur. However, as Christopher asks for advice on what to with the fur specifically, Tim offers it without further comment on the fur itself. As their mentor, taking the contestants to task for the morality of their choice of materials may not be appropriate. Perhaps he spoke with Christopher or the producers off-camera about the fur—as of this writing, Tim’s behind-the-scenes episode recap hasn’t been posted to his Facebook. As a proud anti-fur advocate, though, his behavior is inexplicable, and really surprising.

I’m surprised everyone ignored the elephant in the room at the judging, too; it was just all “texture this” and “gorgeous that.”
Perhaps they thought the fur was fake considering that Project Runway has long had a no-fur stance, evidence of which appears as late as August 2009. When was it overturned? The winner of season six, Irina Shabayeva, used fur in her first post-Runway collection (gross!). Michael Kors has had roughly as many animals as San Francisco has citizens murdered for fur in his collections over the years, so it wouldn’t have been an issue for him.

Here’s a tip, contestants: It’s always more awesome to be cruelty-free.People will like you more and animals will suffer less. And maybe, just maybe, your designs won’t come out looking like a dreckiger Arschw√§rmer!

Auf wiedersehen

*Allen is my boyfriend. He did not consent to having his name or likeness used for this or any other purpose. I am pretty sure he is going to break up with me and move out when he finds out I’m writing about him, so let me know if you need a roommate!

[Meave Gallagher contributed to the reporting in this post! Images courtesy Lifetime]

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