By Diane Small
If there’s one thing that gets our readers emotional, it’s the issue of fur. And with good reason.
Obviously, anyone with a heart is repulsed by the idea of killing animals for fashion. And yet many of those same people who shun fur have no issues with killing animals to eat. As for vegans, they are rightly disgusted with killing animals for any reason at all, but then often end up wearing plastic and chemical based materials that themselves pollute the air, earth and water for all animals. It’s seriously a conundrum to know which materials to wear do the least harm.
Irene Kostas, founder of Onar Studios (which means ‘dream’ in ancient Greek), is a Helsinki-based sustainable clothing and accessories designer specialising in leather and shearling pieces – because she thinks these do the least harm to the environment. She uses heritage techniques perfected in her family for generations and adds her own quirky style – creating innovative and strikingly modern clothing.
Each piece in her collections are handcrafted in Finland and Greece from materials that are exclusively by-products of meat industry. Kostas is adamant that her skins are ethically-sourced, vegetable-tanned and 100% chrome-free. She’s a firm believer that sustainability is the key to making ethical products and dismisses the trend for faux-fur, due to recent reports show that on average one gallon of oil is used in the production of every 3 faux-fur jackets and when washed, microparticles of fake fur drains from our washing machine into the water table. Fish end up swallowing them, and animals, including us, eat the fish, thus ingesting carcinogenic plastics. Kostas also points out that much of the cheaper end faux-fur labels may still include dog or cat fur, too.
Kostas believes that Onar Studio’s clothing is amongst the most sustainable available, and its soft materials, geometric forms, richness of texture and biodegradable materials have been a hit with fashionistas in both Scandinavia and in Paris, where the collection is sold at the iconic shop Colette. It will soon be launching in Fenwick Bond Street in London. The question is: what will eco-conscious British animal lovers make of this?