Fur is the ultimate “fabric of desire.” Humans covet the gorgeousness of the stuff on the backs of the wild and the caged, and from that desire to those enacted in the orgasmic moment of death, the climactic moment of consumption, the ecstatic moment of the performic enactment of fur through wearing it, fur is synonymous with desire. In this article, the author examines fur as both a fetish-fabric that disavows its bodily origin, a material fabric tied to seduction, sensuality, and somatic sensation, and a sadist-fabric that cannot be decoupled from the pornographic “snuff” violence of its manufacture. Catherine Harper was a founder member of the Animal Rights Movement of Northern Ireland in 1983.
Bibliographical note© Catherine Harper, 2008
An earlier, shorter version of the paper was published in selvedge magazine (2005), and a paper based on it was presented at the 11th International foundation of Fashion and Technology Institutes (IFFTI) conference, London College of Fashion, April 2009. This essay has been developed as a chapter for Catherine Harper’s second book Fabrics of Design (Berg, 2010).