Fur Free Fashion

Last year"s Fur Free Fashion Competition winner was Zsuzsa Kovacs and Jessica Richard, whose designs were featured in a special photo shoot.© Born Free USA

The second round of the Fur Free Fashion Design Competition is upon us. It’s a way to showcase emerging designers who have found innovative ways to make stylish clothes without the use of fur—and to draw attention to the plight of animals in the fur trade. Born Free USA, a nonprofit organization aiming to "keep wildlife in the wild," is behind the competition, and has drawn the connection between ethical and environmentally responsible purchasing. Both farmed and trapped animals experience gruesome living conditions and death, and the industry has major environmental shortcomings, too: from the animal waste and carcasses left behind at fur farms; to the amount of energy required to make a fur coat (more than three times the energy needed for a faux fur coat, according to Born Free); to the harmful chemicals, including chromium and formaldehyde, used in making the coats; to the traps which can ensnare protected or endangered species.

Last year’s contest drew a range of entries—several of which made overt statements about animal welfare or involved animal-print fabrics. This year includes a special "Green Award" for the most environmentally conscious design, as well as a special student award. The top prize is $750 cash along with other goodies (like Urban Decay makeup and recognition from E Magazine, one of the contest’s partners) and designers 18 and over can enter online through April 1.

CONTACT: Fur Free Fashion Competition