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Educated shoppers know when fur’s fair

This season fur is so on-trend, we just can’t seem to get enough of it in stock.

This season fur is so on-trend, we just can’t seem to get enough of it in stock.

I know it’s a sensitive issue but it’s our policy only to sell by-product rabbit fur. The skins come from rabbits that have been used for meat and the source is fully traceable. In my book, this is just the same as using leather. Fur just seems a bigger issue because it comes from something soft and fluffy.

Even so, I’ve managed to surprise myself by selling it to a strict vegetarian and declared non-fur wearer.

She commented on the softness of a fur gilet on the racks, but was horrified when I mentioned it was rabbit. I then commented on her very beautiful leather boots. “Thank you,” she replied. “They’re Prada!”

“Do Prada have their own breed of cows?” I asked. The customer looked bemused, but then I told her the gilet did not breach any more principles than the boots because it was a by-product skin. She left the shop with the rabbit fur item in black.

If you take the time to educate your customers on by-product skins, the argument “I couldn’t wear something just killed for skin” is no longer an issue.

I fully understand we all have our opinions and, as a result, I’m very careful about how I merchandise my fur. We would never put fur in our windows, for example, as we have a college just down the road and I don’t want the windows covered in eggs every morning.

The scary thing is some of these students are now wearing vintage fur made from mink and fox, which are killed only for the skin. I don’t approve of that.

But when these students and our customers all see Kate Moss and the like wearing vintage fur, what are we to do?

Michelle Birkins is owner of premium womenswear boutique Michelle B in Barrowford, Lancashire

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