Ecological Fur

Chie ImaiDo you have more money than God and no time in your busy day to do your bit for Global Warming?

Then check out the pricey designs that were spotted at a recent Tokyo fashion show. The latest in Japanese fur designer Chie Imai’s creations included a cape of lowly polyester sewn with chinchilla that’s being billed as “ecological fur.”

The cape, bolero and several other items use real chinchilla and mink from fur farms. But the fabric parts of the clothing use recycled polyester from Japanese plastic and pharmaceutical maker Teijin Ltd.

“We have not compromised quality. And tying ecology with fur is such a fascinating concept,” Imai cooed.

“Ecological fur” sometimes refers to fake fur, but Imai uses real fur. Her so-called ecological designs use polyester strips and fabric with genuine fur. A bolero, for instance, has real fur trim, but the fabric parts and the lining are all recycled polyester.

Imai is the latest fur designer to use synthetic materials with fur – despite complaints from animal rights activists that the term “ecological” is just “green-washing” – a ploy to distract people from the mistreatment and cruelty of animals in the fur industry.

But Imai argues that fur itself is ecological because it can be worn for generations and “returns to the earth” as organic material and causes no pollution. She trots out the tired old argument about meat-eating.

It takes more than 60 times as much energy to produce a fur coat from ranch-raised animals than it does to produce a fake fur. Plus, the waste produced on fur farms poisons our waterways. And don’t forget … unlike faux fur, the “real thing” causes millions of animals to suffer every year.

Fur FarmImai’s ecological fur — ranging in price from 1.2 million yen (US$12,000) for the mink bolero to the 8.4 million yen (US$83,000) chinchilla cape — allows her clientele, which includes the Japanese royal family and clueless celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, to feel green, she said.

“They want to take part in being ecological, but it’s hard for them to find a way to do it.”

Watch for the Chinese dog-and-cat-fur knock-offs being flogged next to the organic food section at Wal-Mart.

Chie, what’s next? Recycling bisphenol A? Solving World Hunger?

Excerpted from Yuri Kageyama, Japan Times

Tokyo Correspondence


Another Imai airhead

Fur farming (warning: graphic images)


One response to “Ecological Fur

  1. Thanks for your interest in my story. It is a fascinating marketing move to bill luxury fur as ecological.
    Japanese associate the phrase “mottainai” with ecology/being green.
    Mottainai translates to: “that’s wasteful” and is the kind of thing your mother says when you don’t finish everything on your plate at dinner.
    It’s really ironic when you think about “mottainai” and luxury fur!

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