Fashion to Die For: How Feather Accessories Promote Animal Suffering

Fashion to Die For: How Feather Accessories Promote Animal Suffering

Rachel Nuwer
Published: 07/11/2011


A stuffed bird of paradise hat, circa 1900.
Credit: Fashioningfeathers

        
Fashion repeats itself. Today, skinny jeans that made their original splash in the 1960s are sported by the young and hip, replacing yesterday’s flared variety borrowed from the 1970s. But some trends are perhaps better left in history, especially those relying upon non-renewable animal products. Though fur immediately comes to mind, celebrities and models have shifted to a new animal-based fashion accessory: feathers. Using bird feathers in fashion may seem innocent enough, but for the birds involved, this latest statement is anything but fabulous.
       
Decorative bird feathers—also referred to as plumes—first hit the fashion scene way back in the 1870s and 1880s. One woman’s dress was reportedly adorned with the feather patches of 3,000 Brazilian hummingbirds. Chic ladies topped their hats not only with plumes but with whole stuffed animals, like birds of paradise and woodpeckers.
     

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