Few things in the world of fashion court as much controversy as the use of fur. And for those who relish that kind of attention, that reaction plays right into their hands. In the case of Japan it is important to bear in mind a degree of cultural relativism and understand that the use of fur is firmly in the realm of luxury and aesthetics and only very rarely deliberately provocative. So regardless of your own views when considering the case for Japanese fashion I would suggest that all baggage be left at home and simply not partake in certain aspects if you do not want to. I would certainly assume that the vast majority of Japanese people are not aware that there could be any controversy, but who knows how times may change.
Fur is huge every A/W in Japan and men are definitely not left out:
There are certain fur items that you see every single season as long as I can remember, but interestingly recently that scope has been somewhat extended. The stuff that gets wheeled out every year is:
The very cheap fox fur tails that are sold as bag ornaments or key holders – these are quite easy to use actually and add a bit of a flair to an outfit, but for me they are just that little bit too “wafty” for want of a better word and not quite as credible as I would require.
Fur collars on the other hand are always a good idea and this season the more drape-like the better – I should point out that if you have mid-length hair then it will have the tendency to get caught up in your collar, so this is one look that you might want to avoid.
Furry boots (maybe not the ones pictured) I like, but to be honest in some cases you are better off buying fur boot cuffs to go on the top of your favorite boots as you are limiting your options for wearing boots if the fur cannot be removed. Regardless I think there are few things as glamorous as a fur-topped boot – so enjoy!
Elsewhere ethnic-favorite Goa always brings out fur belts every year in both their male and female shops and these can actually be unbelievably practical for keeping warm in the winter! Your see if you have a short riders jacket (or anything a bit short/cropped) you can use one of these to keep drafts out. Who said I could not be dull and practical sometimes!
On the other hand the big surprise for me last year was that Casva actually brought out a male fur coat last year. It hovered around the 30000 yen price point and my sources say that they are reprising it later this year. While fur coats have been big in 109 for years, they are something of a rarity in male shops. I tried the one above last year and while the quality was there in the fur, the other parts of the coat were plain cheap and the fit far too blocky for my tastes. I think this is always going to be the problem with coats for me, that I love a slim-fitted look and tailoring fur requires more time/skill then mainstream commercial shops like 109-2 can possibly spare.
I would also say that as with leather you do get what you pay for – if you buy too cheap, it will not last, be itchy and be indistinguishable from fake-fur within a month.
I do understand that for many people the issue of fur might well put people off Japanese fashion, and the same could well be said for Italian fashion. At the end of the day you need to make an informed choice and I admire anyone who has weighed up the debate themselves and made a decision – regardless of what they eventually decide.