New Series Used Custom Synthetic Shtreimels, Sparing Countless Minks, Foxes, or Other Animals
For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2020
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – A Compassion in Costume Design Award is on its way from PETA to Netflix’s Unorthodox, in which costume designer Justine Seymour used faux fur to create the more than 100 shtreimel hats worn in the series.
The hats are traditionally worn by Hasidic Jewish men on Shabbat and other special occasions—and in the Making Unorthodox featurette, the filmmakers explained why they decided to go faux: “[E]ach hat involves the fur of six minks, which kind of seemed to us unnecessary [because] we needed a lot of them,” says series writer Anna Winger. “So a theater company in Hamburg made them out of fake fur, so, you know, no minks were harmed in the making of this TV show.”
“By using faux-fur hats, Unorthodox‘s filmmakers have prevented real animals from being beaten, electrocuted, or skinned alive,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “From binge-worthy shows to Oscar contenders, PETA-approved vegan fabrics have become the go-to choice for costume designers.”
Each real fur shtreimel may be made of up to 30 sables, minks, martens, or foxes. Jewish leaders have criticized the fur hats as a violation of the Jewish law of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, which prohibits causing animals unnecessary pain. Most animals used for fur spend their entire lives slowly going insane inside cramped cages before they’re electrocuted, gassed, or poisoned. Those who are trapped in nature may suffer for days before trappers arrive to shoot, strangle, beat, or stomp them to death.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—previously honored the fur-free costume design in Rocketman and Natalie Portman’s vegan leather wardrobe in Vox Lux. Other recent Hollywood projects that skipped fur or leather include Dynasty, Blade Runner 2049, and Game of Thrones, among others.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.