Animal Rights and High Fashion

by Gabby Hyman
Fashion School Review Columnist

January 17, 2006

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Beyonce's mukluk boots, crafted from dead bunnies, or the Persian lamb coat designed for television host Oprah Winfrey, are the rage in fashion design and the scourge for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

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When recording artist Beyonce hops from the back of her stretch limo and struts into plain view, fans squeal in delight at the latest fashion designs. Paparazzo blast away with their cameras, and animal rights activists the world over cringe. Stars like P-Diddy, Celine Dion, Mary Blige, Nicole Kidman, and Madonna have made no bones about wearing pelts harvested from critters at their New York and Hollywood parties and premieres.

But not all stars wear hides and fur. If you're in fashion design school and are concerned over animal rights, there are top fashion designers who excel without using them. Perhaps the best-known among the new wave of conscious designers is Stella McCartney, the daughter of former Beatle, Paul McCartney, and Linda Eastman.

No Creatures Were Harmed

McCartney graduated from London's Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in 1995 and immediately made her splash when she was appointed chief designer at Chloe. It was Linda Eastman's concern for animals that encouraged Stella in combining PETA activism with European couture. Eventually, McCartney refused a top position with Gucci since that house wanted her to work in leather.

Meanwhile, Def Jam singer Foxy Brown has apparently decided that fur is good for show business. While she hasn't gone to a fashion design college, she's begun collecting Russian sable and chinchilla for the new Foxy Brown Luxury Furs in Manhattan. Given that sable is traditionally harvested from genital electrocution or gassing, Eastman is bound to weigh in on the matter. She has no problem confronting the rich and furry.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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