The £40bn-a-year fur industry has been fighting a rearguard action to give the impression that fur is once again socially acceptable. Images of supermodels draped in pelts in women’s glossies attest to a victory – in the minds of fashion editors at least. However, the groundswell of opinion against fur is still strong – witness Selfridges’ recent decision to become fur-free. For anti-fur pressure groups, responding in the PR war is important. But they lack the deep pockets of the fur trade, so other avenues have to be taken. One is the Design Against Fur student design competition, organised by Respect for Animals, and now in its third year. This year 400 students from colleges round the country submitted work putting across the message ‘Fur is cruel’ in a variety of ways, from parodies of Victorian children’s books to a subversion of iconic iPod imagery and the more usual juxtaposition of raw flesh and fur. The level of entries is taxing the resources of the competition’s organisers, and it could become a victim of its own success. But the real victims are the animals killed for their fur, and the success of the campaign will be measured by the imagery’s power to sway minds – the winning work will be readily available to anti-fur groups around the world.
The shortlisted work will be shown from 14 June until 19 June at the The Foundry, 86 Great Eastern Street, London EC2 Tel: 020 7739 6900