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Faux Real

Jill Harbin

Faux Real exam­ines the use of fur in fash­ion. Orig­i­nat­ing from the neces­si­ty for warmth in a win­ter cli­mate, fur pelts turned into hats and coats have since become high-fash­ion items. The exploita­tion of fur for fash­ion has sparked great con­tro­ver­sy, spark­ing debates and protests around its ethics, cul­ture, and cru­el­ty. Faux Real incor­po­rates a mix­ture of pic­tures: high-fash­ion Vogue cov­ers, women from the 1940’s sport­ing fur coats, and fash­ion cam­paigns in which mod­els are hold­ing up signs protest­ing against the use of fur. I placed his­tor­i­cal fash­ion arti­cles as the back­ground- to rep­re­sent a historical/ “past” lay­er. On top, I’ve placed mod­ern-day pic­tures- includ­ing my self photography—to rep­re­sent both the con­tro­ver­sy, and lin­ger­ing pop­u­lar­iza­tion of fur in today’s fash­ion indus­try. In my self por­trait, I’m wear­ing one of my grandmother’s old fur coats to imi­tate the pho­to of the ladies dressed in their fur. My grand­moth­er would have been a part of a sim­i­lar era, one in which mid­dle-class women would wear fur as a sign of famil­ial wealth. The collage’s dom­i­nant col­ors are orange, red, and brown, cor­re­spond­ing to the phys­i­cal col­ors of many ani­mal furs. Last but not least, I used the fur from an old ted­dy bear to cut out the let­ters “Faux Real.”, a play on words from the phras­es “Faux Fur.”, “For Real.”, and “Real Fur”. This col­lage was part of the stu­dent exhib­it Hotel Metro­pole (curat­ed by Dr Ele­na Siemens), IRS Stu­dio, Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta, Novem­ber 2018.