Fur and Sustainability: Oxymoron or Key to ‘Deeper’ Luxury?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

648 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the notion of deeper luxury, which insists that ‘real’ luxury should involve sustainable practices in the production and consumption of luxury goods. It traces historical and recent developments in the field of fur to understand the implications, uncertainties and ambiguities of luxury’s confrontation with sustainability. Considering fur in relation to future standards for luxury products, we raise questions about moral problematization and justification of luxury in terms of sustainability. We first examine the encounter of luxury with sustainability and explain the significance of the notion of ‘deeper luxury’. After taking stock of the impact of sustainability on luxury and various directions in which sustainable luxury is evolving, we discuss concepts of sustainable development in relation to the history of moral problematization of luxury. This leads to the case of fur as material used to establish social distinctions from at least medieval times to the present and subject to moral condemnation and controversy. Our case inquiry reviews recent research projects and industry initiatives that seek to determine whether fur can be seen as sustainable or not. The article discusses whether fur is about to lose or reclaim its legitimacy in an era of sustainable luxury, and concludes with reflections on depth and sustainable luxury.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Design Business & Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Fur
  • Sustainability
  • Luxury
  • Luxury industry
  • Deeper luxury
  • Fashion

Cite this