Tom Ford speaks frankly about going vegan and using fur in fashion

‘It’s become acceptable to not show respect to people who don’t necessarily share your point of view’

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 07 February 2018 11:42 GMT

Fur in fashion has always been a hot topic of conversation.

Which designers have vowed never to feature it again, which couldn’t care less… everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the subject.

Tom Ford has recently spoken out about his views on fur in fashion, which he has re-evaluated since adopting a vegan lifestyle a year ago.

Ford decided to go vegan after watching a film called What The Health.

His decision to follow a plant-based diet has consequently influenced his creative choices as founder of his eponymous fashion brand.

"I've been vegan for about the last year," he told WWD (Women's Wear Daily). "When you look at how most of our meat, our animal products, are raised, from a health standpoint, I didn't feel that I should eat those things anymore."

“I have started using much more fake fur. I’m not yet ready to say that I’m fur-free.

“Now, however, I have limited the fur in these collections and going forward to food by-products, which does not sound sexy.”

Ford is making a conscious attempt to opt for food by-product fur in his collections, so that any real fur used comes from animals bred for their meat rather than their pelts.

He argues that solely using fake fur isn’t as ethical as it may seem.

“I’m also very torn about this because fake fur is terrible for the environment,” he explained.

“People think of fake fur as a disposable thing. They buy it, they wear it a few seasons, they throw it away, it doesn’t biodegrade. It’s a petroleum product. It is highly toxic.

“A fur coat gets recycled. People wear them for 30 years, they give them to their kids, then they turn them into throw pillows.”

Ford is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the use of fur on the runway.

He was once confronted by a woman from PETA at a WWD event, and the experience definitely made a lasting impression on the designer.

“She reached in her handbag, and I could tell by the look on her face that she was reaching for something. I thought it was a gun,” he said.

“It was a giant container filled with tomato juice, which came flying out of her bag, all over me, all over my clothes, all over everything.

"It wasn't that I was upset that I was standing there dripping with tomato juice, but it was one of the most violent, frightening things that has ever happened to me."

Ford accepts that people will always have conflicting views on whether it is morally correct to don animal fur on the catwalk.

However, he believes it’s important to encourage people to voice their views openly and accept the differing opinions of others.

“I would like to hope that we could all have a discourse about it without running the risk of having someone reach into their handbag and douse us with some sort of red liquid, or [do] something even more violent,” he said.

“It’s the environment we live in in today’s world, not to be too political, where it’s become acceptable to not show respect to people who don’t necessarily share your point of view.”

Ford credits his plant-based diet for making him feel physically healthier. However, he admits he does sometimes enjoy the occasional treat that isn't strictly vegan.

“Most vegan baked goods just don’t do it like a box of Hostess doughnuts,” he admitted.

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