Student Perspectives on Fashion #4

Fur in Florence

As we have been in the lovely town of Florence, Italy for the past few weeks, there are numerous fashion differences we have observed. One of the main differences we have noticed here are the wide acceptance of fur and demand for fur here. We were especially interested this specific trend because it drastically contrasted to the fur trend in the states.

The fur in Florence:

We noticed that so many people here wear fur on a regular basis, something you don’t see that often in America. With so many organizations and anti-animal cruelty groups, it is almost as if people in America are scared to wear fur because they don’t want to be degraded. It is mostly the very upper class that wears fur, and even then it is not uncommon to hear mean or disapproving comments and/or looks. In Florence however, we noticed that it is much more widely accepted for clothing and outerwear. People are not ashamed to wear fur here, but wear it proudly.

furSo, after strolling through the outdoor markets of Florence on a daily basis, we couldn’t help but notice all the different items that they sell there-including all the fur! Not only do they sell fur in all kinds of coats and colors as shown in our pictures below, but they also sell a variety of accessories such as fur hats, bags, scarves, gloves, and even shoes. Also, not just the wide variety of fur surprised us, but also the variety of colors of fur. Some of the colors of fur that we have seen include colors such as blue, pink, orange and red. This was a little bit of a shock for us to see this much fur and in such bold colors, where people would be showing off their fur, rather than trying to downplay or limit the amount of fur they wear—a warmly welcomed fashion trend for us! 🙂

Another thing we noticed about fur was that men are also wearing it—something very rarely seen in America. Men here are more daring (at least to us) with how they wear fur, or even with wearing fur at all for that matter. However, one thing we have noticed is that whether it is a man or a woman wearing fur, they wear it with confidence. We think that this is one of the main reasons why people wearing fur make it so attractive and possibly so popular. We have to understand here however, that fur here in Florence has much a different meaning than wearing fur in America, where for so many years fur was seen as a status symbol for the American woman. IF you had a fur coat-you had made it. Now, with all the groups against fur, and especially with President Obama’s attention, the fur companies have been backing off and fur has been looked down upon more and more as the years go on.

Here in Florence, it is a refreshing change for men and women alike to wear fur in a way that not only keeps them warm in these unusually cold winter months, but also adds a sense of style and flair to someone’s outfit. We, as a group of American girls, are all for the fur trend (not necessarily real fur-but any kind) and look up to Florence as somewhere where people can confidently wear what they want without having to worry about being scrutinized. A place where fur can flourish and become a large part of fashion– as it should be!

by Colleen Froehlich – Erica Sheck – Lindsay Mazza

LDM  – Spring 2012
FAS 185 – Anthropology of Fashion and Desirability: Beyond the Catwalk