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“Blink” Retail: Fashion fantasy versus reality, beyond angora

A very, very happy new year to you all and heres our first post of 2014. Before I get stuck in to the subject at hand, I’d like to thank you all for your support and for choosing Blink. Keep sharing the love x

So, I have decided to kick off 2014 with a catch up on a subject we started looking at last year; my desire to bust some fashion myths (you can catch up on the state of play so far by having a read here). The great news is that we were exploring these questions at the same time as many, many influential members of the fashion industry. A multitude of very important brands have now decided to boycott the use of angora until they can be assured that the source (ie those rabbits) are being farmed in a humane and ethical manner, after all this is a crucial element in sustainable behavior aside from the fact that we would all hope to behave in a compassionate and conscious manner as members and customers of the world wide fashion industry.

You know, I couldn’t be more delighted that the conversation has been started in such a public way. I’m just looking for the conversation to expand beyond those gorgeous bunnies and incorporate all sources of animal fibres. PETA have already called for shoppers to boycott wool products (read more here.) and accused British wool producers of severe cruelty. Is any of our wardrobe safe from doubt?

So what about the other animals that are farmed for their fluff and feathers? Here’s a selection of some of the main ones, but we’re sure this isn’t an exhaustive list..

Roosters, image with thanks to Pinterest

Roosters, image with thanks to Pinterest

Roosters, chickens and turkeys are the source of much of fashions feather trims (even most of those feathers we call ‘marabou’ come from the humble turkey apparently). Do you hope as I’d like to, that they are collected as they are naturally shed by these little beings? Hmm, sadly this is highly unlikely.

Cashmere goats, image with thanks to Pinterest

Cashmere goats, image with thanks to Pinterest

I have worked with some of Britain’s most highly respected cashmere businesses who describe their goats being taken great care of, but, as with much of the animal fibre production, this stage of production happens in China and in the hilly wilds of neighbouring countries (where the cashmere goat originates from), so how much do we really know about the lives of those precious herds?

Angora goats, the source of mohair. Image with thanks to Pinterest

Angora goats, the source of mohair. Image with thanks to Pinterest

The same questions could be raised about these beautiful angora goats, who rather confusingly are where we get mohair from.

Alpacas, image with thanks to Pinterest

Alpacas, image with thanks to Pinterest

Alpaca is another noble fibre that is mostly seen in very high end collections, along with camel hair. I do hope that these are not treated to some of the same barbaric practices as the humble sheep.

Merino sheep, image with thanks to Pinterest

Merino sheep, image with thanks to Pinterest

Gosh, where would we be without wool? Just glancing around me, I’m pretty much surrounded by it in various forms and roles in my home office. I was really disturbed by the PETA statements on wool production and sheep farming practices right here on our doorstep. This, in fact, is what sparked this whole desire of mine to debunk some of my own myths.

So, the next stage is underway and I hope to have some more facts to replace our fictions. Oh and I really do hope to have some wonderful findings to share with you all. I couldn’t bear it if the whole thing is a horror story. What the bloody hell would we all end up wearing? It’s far too chilly to be a naturist!

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