Brazil designers using animal skin at Fashion Week

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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (BDCi) – – In the second half of the last century, great names in the fashion world have been victims of a mass attack from animal rights activists if they were to use animal skin in their various ensembles. At Fashion Week in São Paulo however, designers are unabashedly using animal skins and furs, even though wildly unpopular to the various humane societies.

The reported examples are many. Renowned designer Fause Haten, for example, employs fox stoles and mink collars. Gloria Coelho used cowhide in her collection, and the designer Reinaldo Lourenço did not use synthetic materials as substitutes.

“The synthetic material does not have the same texture or fit the same”, Lourenço responded to the accusations. About the use of the animal skin, “(It) was the first man’s clothing; without it, we wouldn`t have survived”, Referring to a time when the skin was used for survival and not as a replaceable luxury.

“This type of manifestation (of animal activists) is fashionable as has been toward black people”, said Lourenço, playing down the animal rights protest, comparing it with the hype and attention gained by activists working the struggle for civil rights.

The Ellus store used a chinchilla fur coat on the catwalk. The chinchilla is an animal whose skin-removal process includes tearing the skin off while the animal is living. The brand name João Pimenta uses leather in his collection.

According to the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil exported USD $2.5 billion in 2011 in leather and fur. In the same year Italy and China bought 52% of the total sent out of Brazil. Now the investment is to promote sales in the domestic market.

The question is whether Brazilian fashion consumers will buy products with animal skins and furs to the dismay of the animal rights activists or boycott such products.

Main contributor: Cibele Clark
Editors: Janete and Don Weinstein
Photo courtesy of: News Observer
27 January 2012
4:37p.m. P.S.T.
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