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What is the most ethical thing to do with vintage fur?Alex Barlow, a PR consultant for designer label Handwritten, is one of a new breed of fashion-conscious British women buying vintage as a guilt-free alternative to contemporary fur.For between £40 and £100 you can buy a vintage fur coat and, with Dee's sartorial know-how, you can be the envy of Milan fashion week - without the stigma.
"I am against real fur - in that I don't approve of new garments being made from fur - but I am OK about wearing vintage," she says.In Paris last year, Balenciaga's global nomad collection included fox stoles and distressed fur gilets, while in London Julien Mac Donald worked with every conceivable animal from sable to mink, chinchilla and fox.It seems autumn/winter 2008/2009 is set to follow the trend, with Caroline Herrera's fur-trimmed hunting-inspired jackets and Camilla Staerk's leather and fur separates in New York, and Roksanda Ilincic's pinksashed furs in London. Madonna, Eva Longoria, Linda Evangelista, Kim Cattrall, Jerry Hall, Lindsey Lohan and French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld have all worn fur in public.While there is evidence to suggest that farmed and fake fur both cause damage to the environment, wearing vintage fur - which has already been processed - has no additional costs to the planet.
Indeed, recycling fur into reusable products can be seen to make environmental sense."We narrow them and make them contemporary with inspiration from the catwalk," says Dee, whose clients include Yoko Ono, Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson."My clients get a customised fur coat that's guilt-free and at a fraction of the price of a new one." She also recycles second-hand coats bought at flea markets.Harricana in Quebec has been recycling vintage coats since 1994, turning Montreal's old fur coats into practical hats, mittens and skiwear for Canada's minus 40-degree winter temperatures.