Photography by: Jessica Knai
Location: Mosswood Park, Oakland, CA
If there's one thing that represents the epitome of a love-hate relationship for me, it's fur.
On one hand, I absolutely love it. It's warm and cozy, which is perfect for those brutal winter days. It's incredibly chic, and adds the perfect pop of color to any look.
But on the other hand, genuine fur is incredibly unethical. I'm not going to get too into the ethical aspect as A. that's not what this post is about, and B. the last thing I want to be is another preachy vegan. But, to sum it up in a sentence or two: thousands upon thousands of animals are killed every year for their fur, their skin literally ripped off their backs, just to be sold at ridiculously high prices. It's sad, unfortunate, and a downright horrible, horrible practice.
In comes vegan-friendly furs: the safe, inexpensive, cruelty-free alternative to traditional furs. They hold all the same qualities as traditional furs, except they're from synthetic materials, rather than from an actual animal (which, of course, constitutes them as vegan-friendly furs as opposed to traditional furs). Oh, and they come at a fraction of the price. While traditional furs can go for thousands of dollars (aka this $18,000+ Fendi coat) it's not uncommon to find a vegan-friendly fur coat for under $150. This one that I'm wearing is from Brandy Melville (unfortunately it wasn't available online :( ) and I was able to score it for just around $100.
Now when it comes to styling furs, I like to treat them kind of like neutrals. Meaning, you can pair them with other textures and patters, just as well as you can with other neutrals. I love this jacket on top of a good all-black look (go figure), but I also love layering it with some different patterns, like in this look. The key to layering any patterns together, though, is to make sure they're in the same color scheme. For example, I wouldn't layer this jacket over a red and white polka dotted dress- the colors and patterns would clash. But since this jacket has black and white in it, it makes sense to pair it with this black and white striped top.
Another tip is to make sure that the patterns are different sizes. If the stripes on this shirt were as tiny as the leopard spots, it would look way too busy, and pattern overload is no bueno. The reason this combination works is because the stripes are significantly bigger than the leopard spots, and provide a nice contrast. It's easy on the eye, and as a result, the two patterns don't get muddled together, which can often happen if the patterns are too similar in size.
Well what about textures? Sometimes it can be fun to totally forgo patterns, and instead, focus on layering textures- the soft, plush fur, with something else (say, silky, soft suede, in this instance). When it comes to layering textures, the same rules apply: keep the textures different, and in the same(ish) color scheme. You can break that second rule a bit- for example, I'd totally layer this jacket over a red vinyl skirt- but try to keep things somewhere in the same range. The thing with layering textures is that there's a little bit more room for flexibility than with the patterns. But still, try to keep these textures, for the most part, different. You don't want to be layering a fur jacket over a fur sweater (unless you're super avant guard and then okay, MAYBE that'll work. But otherwise, I'd call it a hard pass).
Styling vegan-friendly furs is not as hard as you may think, and by following a few simple "guidelines", you can easily use them to transform your entire looks into uber-chic, fashion forward expressions.
After all, who doesn't love a good, stylish piece that saves money AND saves the animals?? ;)