Brave GentleMan Capsule Collection

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After a successful event at the Alexander Gray Associates Gallery for New York Fashion Week, Brave GentleMan is releasing the items available at the event for online sales in very limited numbers. Made in New York City’s historic garment district, this capsule collection features luxurious, tweedy, Italian organic cotton naturally dyed in black, slate blue, French-milled herringbone with a subtle sharkskin shine made from a blend of organic cotton and recycled PET, a classic black twill made from organic cotton and recycled PET milled in India, and a supple, sequoia red-brown, Japanese future-suede born of post-industrial recycled PET. Also available are future-wool felt hats made from recycled soda bottles, and classic shirts in white and gray. $190 – $870 at BraveGentleMan.com

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Major Fashion Brands Must Respond to Cruelty on Rabbit Farms

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photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals.org

When a story broke last week via Sparrow Media showing disturbing images of rabbits on fur farms in Spain, it quickly began to gain mainstream media attention. Seventy farms and two slaughterhouses were investigated by Last Chance for Animals, and management of the operations at Curticub and Galaico Catalana explicitly claimed they supplied U.S. designers Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg, as well as international designers Burberry, Dior, Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton with rabbit pelts.

The investigation video is below:

When it came time for the industry to respond after WWD ran the story, setting off a chain reaction in the fashion media, deny deny deny was the PR mantra. In the WWD article, Dior claimed that “The House of Dior is deeply shocked by the documented images, which are against our values and practices.”

Burberry followed suit saying they have “no relationship with the farms featured and we are sure that Curticub is not part of our supply chain… Burberry will not use fur if there is concern that its production has involved the unacceptable treatment of animals.”

In an article for Vogue on Sept 16th, the label Saint Laurent, which lists Spain as a source of rabbit fur on their website, said, ” Saint Laurent teams are continuously working to find ways to ensure high standards of animal welfare.”

It’s not surprising that these designers are denying and distancing themselves from the activities caught on camera of farm workers bashing sick rabbits to death, crippled, diseased and severely wounded rabbits left to suffer in small, crowded cages with hard metal bars for floors with no medical treatment, or rabbits being bludgeoned to death or slammed to the floor before being skinned. Who would dare claim financial support of such callousness? But denial only goes so far. Surely these large suppliers are selling to someone. And where there is big business, there is a paper-trail. It’s only a matter of time before those doing (or having done) business with them are confirmed.

The most frightening thing about these images beyond the abhorrent cruelty is the fact that this is business-as-usual.

The most frightening thing about these images beyond the abhorrent cruelty is the fact that this is business-as-usual. All seventy farms and two slaughterhouses investigated are currently having animal cruelty charges brought against them. Every single one. Therefore, the cruelty is indicative of industry-wide practices, not rare exceptions that can be avoided. In other words, fur farming is inherently cruel. The following is a list of acts and situations included in the list of the complaints:

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photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals.org
  • ·throwing live rabbits into trash containers to die with rabbit corpses
    ·killing by blunt force trauma with repeated strikes against the cages or the floor
    ·killing by crushing their esophagus and abandoning them to die by suffocation
    ·ill and injured rabbits, some with open, infected wounds, who never receive veterinary treatment
    ·violation of hygienic-sanitary conditions, where feces is left to accumulate, lack of mandatory bio-security suits
    ·abandonment of live animals in piles of feces who later die of starvation or dehydration

There is a myth that humane fur farms exist. That regulations protect animals on fur farms. But let me be clear: if you design with or wear fur, it is delusional to think that there is a kind way to confine, gas, anally electrocute, bludgeon, poison, suffocate, slit throats or snap necks. The laws and regulations established by the European Union are merely guidelines that are not enforceable. The guidelines are vague and often left open to interpretation. 1) Council Directive 93/119/EC 2) Council Directive 98/58/EC  3) Ley 32/2007, de 7 de noviembre 4) Real Decreto 348/2000 de 10 de marzo 5) RD 441/01 del Consejo de 27 de abril)(general animal welfare law) 6) Reglamento (CE) Nº 1/2005, del Consejo de 22 de diciembre de 2004, (general transport of farmed animals) 7) Reglamento (CE) nº 1099/2009 (Regulation on how farmed animals should be killed) They suggest taking “reasonable steps” to prevent “unnecessary pain, suffering or injury”, but who determines what steps are reasonable and what injuries or sufferings are necessary? Even the industry’s most stringent and much-touted Origin Assured certification has fallen short of even the most basic ethical standards when investigations surfaced in recent years of farms in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, as well as trapping the USA.


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photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals.org

…the mortality rate for rabbits on farms in Spain is a whopping 22%.

Spain’s Agricultural Ministry is supposed to monitor these farms, yet some farms were documented claiming that they’ve not had a vet visit in over five years. Not surprisingly, the mortality rate for rabbits on farms in Spain is a whopping 22%. There are no regulations for raising and killing rabbits, no regulated cage sizes or considerations for biological differences in rabbits to specifically address their physiological needs. In Spain, like in most countries (with Germany being the exception) there are no laws that specifically protect rabbits being raised for meat and fur. This is shocking considering that almost 70 million rabbits are killed annually in Spain’s 3,369 rabbit farms. Globally, over one billion rabbit pelts are produced each year, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. It goes against common sense to believe that a rabbit’s complex social and veterinary needs could ever be met at this scale while still making a profit. Rabbits are social creatures that live in large groups, dig and build warrens, and play. Companion rabbits enjoy the same privileges and kinship as dogs and cats. Caged on a farm, every instinct and desire is stifled.

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photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals.org

Cruelty, neglect and suffering are unavoidable aspects of large-scale animal industries, and it disingenuous for the brands who have released statements to feign concern for the barbaric treatment of rabbits documented in this investigation when these cruelties are widespread and disturbingly ordinary. If Burberry deems that this is “unacceptable”, if Dior claims this treatment of animals goes “against [their] values, if Saint Laurent wants to “ensure high standards of animal welfare” certainly they all must simply stop using animal skins. The cognitive dissonance here is disgraceful.

…it disingenuous for the brands who have released statements to feign concern for the barbaric treatment of rabbits documented in this investigation when these cruelties are widespread and disturbingly ordinary.

Investigators reached out to these brands weeks before releasing the investigation. Marc Jacobs, who also openly lists Spain as a source of rabbit fur, has still not commented on the subject. Therefore it is necessary that Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenburg, Armani and Louis Vuitton respond. Fur is more than a naughty, indulgent, luxury status symbol. The raising and killing of animals for their skins is an ugly, painfully mainstream and archaic business.

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photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals.org

The future of fashion, however, is bright and rebellious. The most exciting innovations in textiles are happening in the realms of bio-based organics and hi-tech and recycled synthetics. We can grow leather in a lab. We can make hi-tech, low-impact future-fur that is far more customizable than, yet indistinguishable from animal hair. Technology is always evolving and getting more efficient, more refined, more green and more visionary. In this sense, fur is simply bad design. It decomposes, it smells, it needs to be preserved in chemicals and refrigerated in the summer and checked for infestations. It requires the inefficient raising of animals and the messiness of having to actually kill them and rip their skin off. It will never evolve or change. There is no good reason that we need to keep caging animals for their entire lives in order to make luxury products. We are better designers than that.

References

School Them with Fashion

Back-to-school season is upon us, and with these sustainable threads, you’ll be taking your admirers back to school. Three Leaves  is offering some great Jungmaven products at 20% until Sept 2nd. Blending hemp and organic cotton, Jungmaven makes some cool basics with a 90’s grunge-rock inspiration.  Think Kurt Cobain stripes, classic thermals and single pocket shirts that are great by themselves or for layering. Made in the USA.

Long Sleeve Striped Hemp Blend ShirtYarndyed Pocket ShirtThermal Baja

Not digging denim? The Arbor slim-cut chinos in army, navy and brick are made with 98% organic cotton and 2% elastine for a soft, comfortable fit.

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• Alternative Apparel’s super-soft Baseball Jacket is timeless.  In navy, gray or vintage black, they’re made with their signature eco-fleece blend: 50% recycled poly, 46% organic cotton and 4% rayon.

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Paleo Pitfalls

I’ve been doing crossfit for just over two years now. It’s a fantastic workout, but the crossfit industry consistently pushes a Paleo (also known as caveman) diet. As a vegan of over 15 years who performs very well in both strength and endurance, I’ve been suspicious of the hype around the idea that I need to eat muscle to become muscular. After all, I’ve gained about 20 lbs in muscle since starting crossfit without eating any animal protein.

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A new 2014 study from the International Journal of Exercise Science should cause some alarm for the heart health of those following a Paleo diet:

“Our results demonstrate that an ad libitum unrestricted Paleo diet intervention is associated with deleterious changes to blood lipids in healthy subjects, despite concurrent improvements in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness.” 

Similar to Atkins (but with better marketing) the Paleo diet definitely appeals to a machismo that we associate with the caricature of a caveman, but even the American Dietetic Association considers it a fad diet, and as more studies documenting the long-term health consequences of diets like these are published in scientific journals, we have the option of rationalizing the aesthetic appeal of a diet like this, or the option of making changes in response to concrete findings.

This is what the Plantbuilt team of 100% vegan athletes looks like, photographed in Austin, Texas this year. Derek Tresize (right of center, back row) just went pro after taking 1st place in Men’s Physique at the Naturally Fit Super Show this past July 2014. Ed Bauer (front right) is a crossfit athlete and coach as well.

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, Austin Barbisch, Korin Sutton, Christian Garcia, Ifpa Pro William Tucker, Billy Prusinowski, Derek Tresize Wnbf Pro, Allison Dunham, Robert Cheeke, Giacomo Marchese and Tha Vegan Dread “.

 

Brave GentleMan Fashion Week Pop-Up

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photo: Michael Beauplet for The Wild Magazine's The Animal Issue

If you love modern incarnations of classic menswear, art, French hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and animals – you do not want to miss this 3-hour Brave GentleMan event at the Alexander Gray Associates gallery in Chelsea on Monday Sept 8th.

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Set against a backdrop of one of NYC’s top galleries currently exhibiting artist Siah Armajani’s The Tomb Series, guests can nosh on French macarons from Sweet Maresa, be the first in New York to sample artisan cheese from Miyoko’s Kitchen and snag a copy of The Wild Magazine‘s latest issue, The Animal Issue featuring cover model Zachary Quinto and a story on Brave GentleMan. Mingle with some of Q Model Management‘s coolest guys dressed up in BGM, and grab a preview-excerpt of my forthcoming book Fashion & Animals after I give a brief talk on the topic. And bring your wallet, of course! Brave GentleMan’s Autumn Winter 2014/15 capsule collection will be available at generous discounts for one evening only!

This one-of-a-kind Moto Jacket (below) in recycled future-suede from our eco, hi-tech Japanese sponsor Ultrasuede will be available at this event only (size L). We may auction it off!  This jacket will also be available in several sizes in Sequoia-brown future-suede, and in lux Italian organic-cotton-tweed. Blazers and pants in organic cotton twill and organic cotton tweed, as well as future-suede pullovers, and BGM x Novacas shoes and accessories will be available in limited numbers.

RSVP to events@bravegentleman.com

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