Yves Salomon traces his history as a maker of artisanal furs back to 1920. His ancestor Gregory Salomon founded La Franco-Anglaise which supplied and traded pelts for the likes of Dior and Revillon. Today, the Yves Salomon brand (started by Gregory’s grandson) is sold everywhere from Harrod’s to Barney’s to Opening Ceremony and is synonymous for quality, style, luxury and craftsmanship in a variety of price points.
As someone in an industry that has come under attack in recent decades, Salomon has released the brand’s Pieces collection—an offering of furs crafted of unused and unsold fur pieces stitched together in patchwork—to have a voice within the backlash and also take a stance against overconsumption in fashion.
“We feel that we cannot express ourselves as furriers and that’s a problem. I wanted to do this collection so I may have an opinion.” Salomon says in a phone interview from Paris. “It’s rather simple, the fur industry is under attack and most of what we hear is not very true. In my part of the industry, it is very well-regulated and it applies to farming, to trade and to labeling. We have to explain every part of the process and be accountable.”
When he speaks of his corner of the industry, he speaks of the farmers and craftsman that have been—like him—in the business for generations and take great pride in creating their work to the highest standards, both aesthetic and ethical.
“People want to force rules on other people which goes against the freedom of an individual’s right to make personal decisions. This is unacceptable,” he says. “What is very important for me is that people keep the freedom of deciding what they want to do. If people want to be free to be vegan, they should be free to be vegan. That doesn’t mean that everyone shouldn’t wear fur. If people don’t want to wear fur, they shouldn’t wear fur.”
“We use animals to eat and for leather, which is acceptable. Why, then, does fur become a moral issue?” Salomon asks. “Is buying fake fur not a moral issue? Which is made of oil and plastic and pollutes the earth?”
While creating fur at the level of responsibility Salomon does is in line with ethical standards set forth by international governing bodies, he admits that not all furriers are created equal. Those creating and farming in less regulated markets for high-demand, low-cost product should be held accountable according to the furrier.
“The people in China and other similar markets making cheap furs are ruining the industry. Which is why we are taking a stance against overconsumption,” he says regarding what, in his opinion, is the biggest factor contributing to unethical issues in the fur trade.
“The consumer trend which is so strong is overconsumption. Now you buy something, wear it for six months and then throw it away. This is unsustainable. Pieces is a collection to show that we can make beautiful coats without overproducing,” says Salomon. “This was an exercise that, one, we can recycle; two, it can be artistic; and three, we don’t have to overproduce to be in this business. We want to show people to recycle fur and be responsible of the resource and not waste.”
After all is said and done, it all comes back to freedom for Salomon.
“What is very important for me is that people still keep the freedom of deciding what they want to do, and part of that is to decide what works and does not work, for ourselves, and ourselves only,” he says.
Rebecca Suhrawardi is a Fashion and Features journalist residing in New York City. Her work appears in the international editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, where she is a Contributing Editor.
Originally posted on Forbes, March 19, 2018 at Article