Design Against Fur

Is it OK to have fur in the home? Photo by Olga Onischenko
I have been sitting on this feature for some time not sure if I should discuss 'Design Against Fur' within the interior's market? However, with the exhibition at London Design Festival 'Design Against Fur' displaying students and emerging designers from around the world tackle the issue of fur in fashion it got me thinking about how we don't really discuss it within the design community. Charlotte stool by Luc Swen; Photo of boy by Alexey Lapin
 I'm not going to preach yes or no but I would love us to have a debate about it. When I was at Livingetc magazine it was a NO WAY policy. However, a  cowhide rug, one of Livingetc's signature looks, was embraced. Fox Fur Double Hammock by Bless Studio; Fashion by Astrid Andersen
Shhh...I did use fur once when I was at Livingetc. I styled the super talented editor at Wallpaper*, Jeremy Langmead's, bed with a black Ralph Lauren fur. Jeremy who is now editor of British Esquire and soon to be online editor for  Mr Porter loved it but my editor gave me a good old slap over the wrist for using it. In 2006 Ralph Lauren actually eliminated fur from all of its apparel and home collections. Armchair 400 designed by Alvar Aalto interpreted by Ilse Crawford; Photo of boys by Philippe Vogelenzang
At British ELLE Decoration fur was much loved and considered chic and glamorous if the design was beautiful, impeccably-made and intelligent. Philippe Starck's polar bear photo by The Selby; Luis JJ Rocking Chair by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia

Photo by Katelovesme; Bedroom by Jeff Andrews Design

The emerging trend to use fur in the home was obvious at the recent Maison et Objet. Cushions, throws, rugs and the love for stag heads is growing. Are we drawn to it because it provokes our primal imaginations? Is it a way city dwellers find a connection to wildlife and a reminder of survival? Or is it simply the silky soft touch to the natural fur that we are drawn too?  Read the Primitive Living report which discusses our current urge to live the simple life.

So many of us LOVE leather in the home(Check out my leather roundup) so is it a big difference to have a fur rug or cushion?. The Times Newspaper reported leather sofas are the hottest trend in interiors for 2010. 

I really would love to know if you think yay or nay to fur in the home.


  1. Thanks for posting on this important topic! My two cents on fur: I believe it made sense to wear fur clothing when people were living in cold climates and before they invented fabrics that could keep them warm. Ever since then, nopey! I do like the aesthetics, though, and so I'm all for finding a way to make high-quality imitation fur, which you can then use. Another take on this in interior design would be a witty approach, such as knitted and knotted carpets in the shape of fur rugs...


  2. Interesting and thought-provoking post. I won't confess to know much about the ins and outs of the fur trade, but it has always struck me as strange that there are some animal skins that are socially "acceptable" (cow hide/leather, sheepskin), yet others that are not (fox, mink).
    I guess the main difference is that the skins of the first grouping are by-products of animals that we use for other purposes. As someone who eats meat, I don't feel I can really object. Where animals are bred purely for their skins it starts getting more morally dubious, and considering that a) there are excellent fake furs around if you really want that softness, and b) we don't need them for warmth any more these days I'm not sure they are really necessary, whether as fashion or in the home.
    Sorry, that ended up being a longer comment than I was expecting!

  3. Thanks for this post. This is a subject I actually know quite a bit about and therefore have very strong feelings.
    I see wildlife as our most precious and important renewable natural resource. I am pro-hunting and trapping for population control (although leghold traps should be banned completely IMO, and in many states they are), and therefore using the hides or pelts are just as ethical as using the leather from cows slaughtered for the table.
    I am an artist, and I regularly use fur, I get my fur directly from tanneries that cater to hunters and trappers. In other words, I know where my fur comes from.
    But the sad truth is most fashion and home retailers use farmed fur. WILD ANIMALS--mostly fox and mink caged in horrible conditions. The term "ranch-raised" is often used to give consumers the idea that they were raised on Old MacDonalds farm. But in reality they are packed into cages--one stacked on top of the other, with nothing under their feet except wire mesh, and feces from the cages above falling all over them.
    Again, I love fur, I use fur, I wear fur, but I would never ever go to Bloomingdales and by a fox throw. A craftsman in alaska that uses wild fur, sure.
    I know many will disagree with me, and that's totally fine. You are right, it is not an issue that is talked about much in the design community, and when it is, most people decide that they are either pro-fur or anti-fur.
    I am arguing that there is another stance: Wild fur only.

  4. agree with Melissa! although i really havent thought of it that way, that is really interesting point. It is very much like your food, and the organic cage-free argument.
    i have a cowhide that ibought from a local farmer here in TX and feel ok about it, but to your point i have lots of other leather and animal products to decorate my home, so the tough thing is to track it.
    i think the fact that this conversation is being brought up and people are becoming more cogniscent is good!

  5. Fur is an exceptionally cruel product. From leg hold traps to being skinned alive in Asia, to being crammed in cages and then anally electrocuted, what makes that seem like a good thing to support? Cruelty and torture is what the fur industry is about. Watch the videos of animals being skinned alive and then if you still want to do it, I guess that says a lot about you. Other than living in the Arctic Circle I can see no reason for anyone else to use it. Fur is the epitome of cruelty towards animals.

  6. This is a tricky one...I don't think I would buy something new made of fur to wear or for my home because somehow it wouldn't seem right. However, last weekend after the book launch of Family Style London by PAUMES, I went to Beyond Retro in Bricklane and couldn't resist buying a vintage Russian hat for Mila. It's probably just rabbit but they also had some vintage fur 3/4 length coats...the kind my mum was wearing 20 years ago and frankly they were very tempting...


  7. Please, no, never fur!
    please wath on youtube if you don't beleive that the animals suffer a lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNW6_MO5vaI
    And it is just wrong.
    Leather is different from fur. You can use leather but not fur! It is disgusting It's much more beutiful to hav a picture or a alive dog in the interior. Please sign petitions on the net against fur! Thank you.

  8. Why is using fur bad? It is a fine natural material and it is good that people have learned to use it for their clothing and decorating. Do animals suffer less when killed for meat and leather than for fur? When I'm eating a beef, it won't stop tasting me well because of reflection of an animal's death. The same when I am sitting on a fur rug! Zebras or bears won't die off only because some of them will be hunted and used as decoration of our home. Most of animals used for fur are overpopulated and fur trapping helps to take their population under control. There is no loss of a death of an animal, if it gives a fine clothes or decoration to us. They do not suffer useless. Humans are on the top of the food chain and killing animals is natural. If it seems you to be cruel, why don't you stop eating meat and wearing leather?