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Fashion Police

The Fur Continues to Fly Over the Wearing of Fauna

September 29, 2000|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: I cannot believe my eyes. At my local high-end department store, I am confronted with little animals that have given up their lives for fur collars, cuffs and winter jackets. When did it become fashionable again to wear the fur of caged, slaughtered animals?

It is very disappointing to see some people in the public eye who were so vocal in the battle for these animals' lives now donning real fur. Human beings have the technology to create synthetics of almost everything that can be found in nature.

--WATCHING THE FUR FLY

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Dear Watching: The controversy over fur has been raging for years, and it shows no signs of abating. Remember years ago when fur-wearing women were drenched in red paint by protesters? And just last year People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals picketed Bloomingdale's in Los Angeles for selling fur.

Although wearing real fur has been politically incorrect for some time, there are parts of the country (Chicago, New York) where women can be seen strolling the boulevards in their minks, chinchillas and foxes.

But the fur issue is complex, and there is some gray area in this debate.

For example, there are people who believe that wearing the fur of a farm-raised animal (such as mink) is fine since the animal was bred specifically for that purpose and was not caught in the wild.

Others think that killing animals, even farm-raised ones, just for their coats is horrible. Yet they may think nothing of wearing leather or eating steak.

Then there are some who shun the wearing and eating of anything that came from an animal.

So who's right?

Before you condemn those celebrities for allegedly switching from anti- to pro-fur, are you sure what they're wearing is real? Those wonderful synthetics you mentioned are good enough to fool the most well-trained eye.

For those who love the look of fur but don't want any animals harmed, we urge you to look at some of those fake pelts. They're soft, warm, cozy, and no stuffed animals were harmed to make them.

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Dear Fashion Police: I am a fan of Scottish tartans and love both the colors and the classic look. While there are plenty of new and creative plaids being shown this time of year, I have not seen true tartans in years. I am especially interested in finding material in the MacLeod tartan, which is yellow, black and red.

Do you know of any store in the L.A. area that sells that tartan? If not, why are the real tartans out of fashion?

--MAD FOR PLAID

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Dear Mad: Tartans aren't exactly out of fashion, it's more like they're in the Hall of Fame. These classic and traditional plaids in a variety of colors and patterns trace their roots back to the Scottish Highlands, where each clan has its own tartan. So, every tartan is a plaid, but not every plaid is a tartan. Even though tartans may not show up on the runways for every fall collection, they never really go out of style. Tartans have also been the pattern of choice for school uniforms for generations, which should tell you something about their staying power.

In Los Angeles, we found tartan fabric at F&S Fabrics, 10629 W. Pico Blvd. ([310] 475-1637). They weren't sure if they had MacLeod, but they do carry a variety of plaids. On the Web, we found the pattern at Fraser & Kirkbright Weaving Co. (http://westcoastwoolenmills.com, [604] 436-1951), a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company; and the Scottish Lion in New Hampshire (http://www.thescottishlion.com, [800] 355-7268). Donaldson's of Crieff in Perthshire, Scotland, also carries a variety of tartans (http://www.donaldsons-of-crieff.com). Talbots carries several styles of tartan skirts each fall and winter. Check its Web site (http://www.talbots.com), or call (800) TALBOTS.

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Write to Fashion Police, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles CA 90012, fax to (213) 237-4888, or send e-mail to socalliving@latimes.com.

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