The fur/anti-fur debate has spanned generations and centuries, with vegetarians, animal rights activists, and even celebrities voicing their opinions. People don't like the thought of killing an animal in order to wear its skin and fur, even if they are willing to eat the animal. With the increase in publicity about this debate as well as the influence of environmental activism, alternatives to fur have been created and worn by the masses.
Jess Eaton proposes a completely different alternative-wearing clothes made from animals who died naturally, were consumed, or donated by pest control. In her current collection, Roadkill Couture, models can be seen wearing high-end fashion created from those who are dearly departed. This brings up the question, is this environmentally friendly? Does picking up something that would decay into the earth benefit the planet? To Eaton it is, cutting out the need to throw the remains into a landfill.
Death is often desensitized in the media, and cruelty is involved in the lifeblood of much of the public. Eaton wishes to encourage that viewers see the beauty in the cycle of life, as these animals' beauty is immortalized. She draws from the principle that there is a use for all parts of an animal-much like Native Americans and other such groups saw sustenance. Roadkill Couture also makes art out of individuals' pets so that their owners can forever be surrounded by their pets.
This fashion line is incredibly creative as it is incredibly novel and solves a problem. We are surrounded by decomposing animals, yet we kill others for their meat and fur. It seems completely natural to do this in order to provide us with what we consider necessary for our survival. To consider animals to have importance after nature takes its toll is a new concept. Eaton encourages us to look to the circle of life and beyond the power of human choice over animals' lives.
Like many of the creatives we studied in class(Z Boys, Frank Gehry, etc), Eaton's creativity is flourishing in the right place and right time, when environmental activism and sustainability are really coming front and center in society, and when fashion is not being constrained. Eccentricity is welcome in the 21st century. Activism is encouraged. Roadkill Couture is fueled by strong imagery and analogical thought, a major creative factor according to Barron and Harrington (1981), bringing out the focus on keeping up with appearances as well as the place of life and death in the universe. It is both shocking and beautiful. I would not be surprised to see one of Eaton's designs gracing Lady GaGa at the next possible awards show.
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