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Well, I’ll be a monkey’s cousin…


The first time I came across monkey fur was at the Deco Show this past winter. It was awkward, being born and bred in California has made me naturally dubious of fur. Of course, living in warm climates, fur has always meant an extreme cost for glamor both fiscally and morally. That with the fact I was a vegetarian for ten years, and vegan for two of those ten, a huge portion of my life, I had great difficulties even with leather. For years, the whole concept of wearing even a leather jacket gave me the heebie jeebies.

Which is the word I would use when I first came in contact with monkey fur. Popular in the 1930’s and 40’s there are quite a number of vintage monkey fur coats floating around on places like eBay and vintage shoppes. The fur itself is creepy because it eerily feels like human hair.

The sales lady said “all the Swedish girls love monkey fur” as if that would entice me to purchase the jacket.

The sales lady said “all the Swedish girls love monkey fur” as if that would entice me to purchase the jacket. Of course, the Scandinavians, they did not have the luxury of sunny warm weather in January. And for some reason, Europeans can carry this stuff off without as much guilt. I don’t know how, but they do.

I’m somewhat mystified with the whole monkey fur thing, I loved Gareth Pugh’s Mongolian Warrior type coats. Although I am not sure what kind of fur it is, it reminds me of monkey. Also, the coats like the ones found on Face Hunter and Alta Mira, both are shockingly cool in my eyes. Although, if a monkey fur coat existed like the bolero Kingdom of Style wore to LFW, (not monkey) I would be smitten. In the research, I came across a pair of old monkey fur booties that are incredible. Though they were created as an art piece, I would be delighted to see a pair produced, perhaps not using anything too high on the evolutionary ladder.

So where exactly do I draw the line?

Is this shameful coveting? I’m intrigued by fur culture. I don’t really know what to say. On one hand there is something rather dark and sinister about it, but I feel somewhat better about buying vintage fur. I own a jacket with a real fox fur collar. I love it, and it keeps me much warmer than the synthetic counterparts. Sure, I’m wearing a tiny dog, but that dog has been dead longer than I’ve been alive.

There have always been faux alternatives, and even fur options that perhaps can rest in my mind easier. I love the way it looks, but I still can’t wholeheartedly wear my fur collar without feeling guilty.

I’m very confused, and I’m sorry for confusing you.

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22 comments for “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s cousin…”

  1. I believe that Agathe from Style Bytes recently bought a capelet of sorts made out of similar fur.

    Since I was little, I couldn’t stand fur. I don’t know why, as I have no problems eating meat and wearing leather or using feathers. But with those, I feel that there is a humane way to use them & that hopefully the whole animal is being put to use in its death.

    For other cases, it seems more morally ambiguous to me. For purpose & use, warmth and surival, I can’t stand against fur wearers. But for modern day use in the super power countries, it seems… well, confusing as you say.

    Posted by Ashe Mischief | February 25, 2008, 8:12 pm
  2. this is the only fur i like, aesthetically. still, i’d never wear any fur- but i’d be dead pleased to find a decent faux of this variety.

    Posted by kim | February 25, 2008, 10:58 pm
  3. Yeah, I’m a little creeped out by it. But I totally understand your intrigue. I’m pretty sure the sale of monkey fur is prohibited on eBay.

    Posted by Sandra | February 25, 2008, 11:18 pm
  4. i feel less bad about vintage fur also. I can’t quite tell you why.
    I don’t own any but I was a buyer at a vintage store for a while and we came across furs quite often.
    At first I wouldn’t ever buy them for the store, but after my first winter at the shop I was tempted to actually buy one for myself.

    I guess because it’s old and I feel like its better to have this lovely animal shown than put into a trashcan.
    I would not consider buying new.

    Posted by sarah | February 25, 2008, 11:24 pm
  5. Wow. Monkey fur? Is that even real? What sort of monkeys are we talking about here? Those savage chimpanzees who rape and kill each other? Because then, no guilt.

    Or are we talking about a cute big-eyed monkeything that you might like to have as a pet?

    Definite quandary. I don’t envy your confusion! Don’t go bananas thinking about it, unless you’re really considering going about with a monkey on your back!

    xoxo 88

    Posted by chelsea | February 26, 2008, 1:46 am
  6. aaaahh… MONKEY FUR? the name alone does it for me, really.
    nope, no little chimp will be stripped of his fur to give me a warm jacket - nor will any other animal.

    Posted by Fenke | February 26, 2008, 1:56 am
  7. I like the look of it…. and I don’t really have any objections against it on the basis of animal cruelty… I’m intrigued too…

    Posted by susie_bubble | February 26, 2008, 6:22 am
  8. Mmm, my feelings towards fur/leather is more of the “would I eat it?” I eat meat, so I don’t have a problem with wearing leather/wool/feathers. But an animal that I wouldn’t consider food (mink, fox, monkey), I wouldn’t be very comfortable wearing. Even rabbit I’m a little uncomfortable with, and I know that that’s considered food (I just haven’t eaten it).

    My boyfriend then asked, “Well, what about silk? Would you eat silkworms?” I think I would — I don’t think I would eat silkworms as my first choice, but if I must, I must!

    Posted by Jeanne | February 26, 2008, 9:53 am
  9. I’ve thought about this for quite some time, especially when it was really cold this winter. But I just don’t think I would wear fur. A good fake is much more preferable in my mind - even if it doesn’t keep you as warm (extra layers?).

    I’m more comfortable with the idea of vintage fur because it’s old and no more animals would need to be slaughtered for the item. As a rule though, I avoid real fur - vintage or not. Despite that principle making me an utter hypocrite because I’ll happily own leather shoes (not any of this settee or other such leather nonsense though) or silk.

    I swear I read somewhere about using spider’s silk instead of silkworm silk… I don’t know if that would involve killing spiders or not. I guess I’d think along the lines of what Jeanne said - if it’s more or less acceptable to eat, I would be more inclined to consider it.

    Posted by Leah | February 26, 2008, 11:18 am
  10. I just don’t like the feel of real fur, it creeps me out. I also don’t like the look of the monkey fur, it looks too much like they’re wearing cher wigs.

    “Those savage chimpanzees who rape and kill each other? Because then, no guilt.” - I wouldn’t try and use human morals on animals, most animals seem to shag their siblings/kill each other/’rape’ others

    Posted by Ej | February 26, 2008, 11:42 am
  11. I’m happy to see that a lot of you are saying “no” to fur. About 10 years ago I owned a few vintage fur pieces. I had them destroyed because I feel wearing even vintage, sends the wrong message to fashion designers. Animals such as minks and chinchillas are usually killed by genital electrocution. They are killed this way so that the pelts are not damaged. It is a horrible death. And then , of course, there’s China with its illegal killing of dogs, cats and other small furry creatures. Chimps have 98% of the same DNA as humans, so I can not even imagine wearing monkey fur. It’s the same as making lampshades out of your dead grandmother!!!!
    Sorry for the RANT, but it’s true. As for leather, I do own leather shoes and bags simply because it is hard to find other alternatives, UNTIL LATELY!!!!! Matt & Nat vegan handbags from Montreal are very, very nice!!!! I’ve yet to see Natalie Portman’s new line of vegan shoes, but GOOD for her.

    Posted by Patti | February 26, 2008, 12:48 pm
  12. i’m glad patti mentioned the really very cruel aspect of fur. at least with leather (which is my “confusing” fashion choice), it’s a by-product of the meat industry. but the fur industry is incredibly cruel.
    also, “faux” does not always mean it is…the humane society has found several companies selling “faux” fur collars on coats that were actually made from various animals’ fur-including dog.
    the monkey fur this is just as disturbing as mink, to me…but, yes, it does begin to border on “grandma skin lampshade.”

    Posted by dana | February 26, 2008, 1:43 pm
  13. I heard Gareth Pugh uses human hair…

    I perfectly understand your feelings. I craved for a leather jacket, for a long time but I didn’t buy it. Finally, a good faux leather perfecto stepped into my way.

    You can eventually blame Kate Moss for your confusion ;)

    Posted by Allure | February 26, 2008, 1:43 pm
  14. wow… some great comments here… lots of food for thought.

    @ashe: i know ambiguity is what’s confusing me. i guess since we both live in warmer climates it’s hard to justify fur at all.

    @sandra: you can find vintage monkey fur on eBay for sure, but I’m not so certain about new, that’s probably illegal.

    @chelsea: i don’t know what chimpanzees so, but, as a human, i don’t feel right passing judgment on other species. most of the vintage coats come from Abyssinian Monkeys http://www.theprimata.com/colobus_guereza.html

    @fenke: monkey fur is a creepy word huh?

    @jeanne: ‘would i eat it?’ is a good rule of thumb, but then again, i wouldn’t eat plastic, and that kills a lot animals from pollution, and I wear synthetics all the time.

    @ej… lol, cher wigs…

    @patti: the message to fashion desingers, is an excellent point. who knows what kind of cruelty to animals can happen when the demand for fur is high?

    @ allure: HUMAN HAIR? really? wow. that’s amazing. can you imagine selling your hair to gareth pugh?
    wow. i’m slightly starstruck.

    Posted by jennine | February 26, 2008, 3:20 pm
  15. No to monkey fur. Faux fur - sure.


    Posted by Poochie | February 26, 2008, 4:49 pm
  16. i would prefer human hair to monkey fur. it’s softer and smoother. monkey fur makes you look like a WOOKIE! the gareth pugh one looks good, but the guy at the right really reminds me of a wookie.
    just thinking about wearing monkey fur freaks me out!

    Posted by nika | February 29, 2008, 8:04 pm
  17. [...] as I’ll happily wear leather shoes. I know I’m not the only one in this pickled boat as Jennine of The Coveted, spoke about fur last week. My friend put it wonderfully the other day: “Well, people eat cows and [...]

    Posted by Coral Stars » Archive » Hairy issues | March 4, 2008, 1:07 pm
  18. I have to say - I LOVE the look of it, but could never even consider wearing real monkey (or any animals) fur. I have been hunting high and low for a fake version that looks really good. The bolero was as close to it as I ever got. But the hunt continues!

    Posted by Queen Michelle | March 26, 2008, 2:23 am
  19. i do wear vintage fur, but i guess its more natural
    for me as i come from scandinavia, it keeps you very very warm which is my reason for wearing fur.
    theres a misunderstanding that leather is only a byproduct of the meat industry, animals are also killed just for their leather, as some animals are just killed for their fur, so the leather industry is not much better. so when people comment on my fur coat, i tend to point out that they are wearing leather shoes and a leather bag, not very cruelty free either. i dont think anyone can wear any animal product without guilt, even wool is not cruelty free, but in this world we have always worn leather,fur and wool etc,its just the way it is, and if some people want to wear fur,thats their choice, as it is peoples choice only to wear synthetics, each to their own i say.

    Posted by tefelome | January 9, 2009, 6:24 am
  20. i wear vintage fur too…

    Posted by jennine | January 9, 2009, 8:49 am
  21. Well monkey fur is sold on ebay. If one is really conflicted, why not try mouton fur. I can tell you that a real mouton is not only not as expensive, but looks and feels fabulous. Plus!!! its much warmer than regular furs (mink, fox, monkey, etc).

    Posted by Kim | January 17, 2009, 4:11 pm
  22. i’m the owner of a 30’s ish monkey cape. it’s very vampy, and i am no longer. i’d rather be wearing it! it’s a rescued fur.

    Posted by robinsky | January 28, 2009, 9:01 pm

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