Costume Designers Are Choosing Looks With No Fur or Leather

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Costume designers all over Hollywood are choosing looks with no fur or leather. The “Blade Runner” costumer fitted Ryan Gosling in a vegan shearling-look coat, while the “Dynasty” series went fur-free, and more. Check it out:

Unorthodox (2020)

The Netflix miniseries Unorthodox was given PETA’s Compassion in Costume Design Award for its use of faux fur to create more than 100 shtreimel hats worn in the series. Shtreimel hats, traditionally worn by Hasidic Jewish men on Shabbat and other special occasions, can be made of the fur of up to 30 sables, minks, martens, or foxes. The Unorthodox filmmakers decided to go faux stead of contributing to the suffering and death of these animals. In the Making Unorthodox featurette, series writer Anna Winger notes that “no minks were harmed in the making of this TV show,” a choice that saved the lives of countless animals used for fur.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

In the new Blade Runner 2049 flick, Ryan Gosling looks killer (as always) in his new shearling coat. But if you look closer, you’ll realize that what really makes this coat special is that it’s leather-free. Yes, folks, this means that no lambs or sheep were harmed to keep this Blade Runner star looking chic. Contrary to what many consumers think, “shearling” is not sheared wool—it’s actually the sheep’s skin tanned with the wool still attached to it.

We’ve sent costume designer Renée April a box of sheep-shaped vegan chocolates to thank her for creating the iconic, shearling-free coat. Check this out to learn more about wearing vegan shearling.

Many movies have opted for leather- and fur-free looks, setting a new ethical standard for cruelty-free costuming in the film and television industries and sending a strong message to audiences that the body parts of animals are theirs to keep—not ours to fashion into jackets and footwear.

Here’s a rundown of some of the movies that have used creative materials in lieu of cruel leather and fur:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Hollywood costume designer Judianna Makovsky explained the movie’s leather-free look to the German magazine Stylight: “We use stretch materials in such films, which are formed and printed in such a way, that they look like another fiber. … Real leather is too hot and not flexible enough.”

Game of Thrones (2017)

IKEA faux-fur rugs used as capes? Why not? If seeing Sansa Stark’s and Jon Snow’s fur capes has you jonesing for a fuzzy coat of your own, take comfort in knowing that the people of the North are outfitted by none other than the home goods department of IKEA, which offers plenty of faux-fur shag rugs.

IKEA has kindly provided some instructions for the capes, similar to those for its construct-it-yourself furniture. The three-step DIY process ensures that you’ll be able to sport your own luscious cape while binging on previous episodes, designing your Halloween costume, or just preparing for winter in a compassionate way.

Empire (2015)

PETA put the show’s wardrobe stylist in touch with Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs, and Empire has been dressing the cast in faux furs ever since. Progress has been made!

The Hunger Games (2014 and 2015)

Woody Harrelson wore vegan boots in The Hunger Games movies. Catching Fire costume supervisor James Tyson is quoted as saying, “Woody Harrelson liked [the boots] so much that he requested them for Mockingjay as well.” Sounds like a satisfied customer to us! We’re certain that were more stars to eschew skins, they’d not only be pleased knowing that they’re not contributing to the exploitation of animals but also be impressed by the outcome, too.

Les Misérables (2012)

Anne Hathaway’s footwear in the adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel was completely leather-free. “We couldn’t use any animal materials on the shoes for her character Fantine,” said costume designer Paco Delgado. “We had to find very specific shoemakers to create lace-up boots and ankle boots. We also did flats that were much more sophisticated.”

Zombieland (2009)

The Hunger Games movies weren’t Harrelson’s first foray into wearing vegan. The actor donned a vegan snakeskin jacket and vegan boots in Zombieland. A member of the film crew had this to say: “It was custom made out of a synthetic material. (He doesn’t wear any leather). The boots were custom synthetic, too. Same for the ‘python.’”

Gladiator (2000) and Walk the Line (2005)

In Gladiator, Joaquin Phoenix’s costumes and shoes were entirely vegan. ABC News reported that “[e]ven for his sword-and-sandal epic with Russell Crowe, ‘Gladiator’ costumers had to outfit him in synthetics.” The Academy Award–winning actor also wore vegan costumes in Walk the Line. He says, “My lifestyle is part of who I am and therefore is always a consideration when working: I always discuss this with producers, and they are very accommodating.”

101 Dalmatians (1996)

Glenn Close famously insisted that her fur-loving character wear only faux-fur coats in the film.

Sounds like Close isn’t so close to her cruel character in real life!

Batman Returns (1992)

Did you know that Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic Catwoman suit was made of latex? Costume designer Mary Vogt explains, “We knew we wanted it to be black and sexy and tight and shiny. Latex is as black and sexy and tight as you can get.”

Get Informed About What You Wear

Buying leather contributes directly to factory farms and slaughterhouses, because skin is the most economically important coproduct of the meat industry. Leather is also no friend to the planet, as it shares responsibility for all the environmental destruction caused by the meat industry as well as the pollution caused by the toxins used in tanning.

As for fur, animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.

More than half the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there’s no easy way of knowing for sure whose skin you’re in.

The best way to make sure that you don’t support these cruel industries is to buy only animal-free materials. For more information, check out our How to Wear Vegan feature.

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