PETA donates hand-me-down furs to the homeless

PETA sponsored a charity fur giveaway to donate animal coats and sweaters to the poor in Detroit on Dec. 16. PETA
PETA sponsored a fur giveaway in Detroit on Monday, Dec. 16, to provide animal coats and sweaters it has received over the year.

PETA, whose supporters have been known to throw red paint at people wearing minks, has been handing out castoff furs to the poor.

The animal-rights organization donated more than 100 fur coats — and dozens of leather jackets, wool scarves and angora sweaters — to needy residents at a Detroit homeless shelter earlier this week.

“We can’t bring these animals back to life, and we can’t reverse the violent ways they died, but we can try to use these coats for an ethical purpose now that they already exist and are already hanging in somebody’s closet,” PETA campaign specialist Ashley Byrne told TODAY.com.

Every year, the organization receives hundreds of furs from people who no longer want them, she said.

The donations PETA
PETA donated boxes of castoff furs to a homeless shelter in Detroit on Monday.

We will donate them to the homeless, to people who are struggling to survive, so these furs can be used to keep homeless people warm instead of as a frivolous fashion statement,” she said.

The Virginia-based organization has held similar events, which it calls “fur kitchens,” with homeless shelters in Baltimore, New York, and Washington in past years, Byrne said. It decided to partner with two charities in Detroit for a fur giveaway because of the sub-zero temperatures the region has been experiencing. No other similar events are planned for this year, although PETA did drop off some furs to an existing coat drive earlier this month in New Jersey.

The group also has shipped dozens of furs to refugees and orphans in Afghanistan and Iraq and sometimes donates coats to wildlife refuges so that they can be used as animal bedding.

PETA recently successfully convinced several clothing retailers, including H&M, to pull angora products off their shelves after providing videos documenting torture rabbits go through to give up their fur.

H&M pulled the rabbit-based clothing in late Nov., and U.K.-based online retailer ASOS will be angora-free by the end of the year.

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    Fashion controversies of 2013

    From the runway to your local retailer, fashion designers (and lovers) definitely made themselves heard this past year. Take a look back at the biggest style stories of 2013.

  • Fashion controversies of 2013

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    Fashion controversies of 2013 -

    From the runway to your local retailer, fashion designers (and lovers) definitely made themselves heard this past year. Take a look back at the biggest style controversies of 2013:

    PETA sent a graphic video from their angora factory investigation to major retailers who sell the soft rabbit fur, pleading with them to drop the fiber from their collections. And more than a few big companies, like H&M, Topshop and Esprit, have since ceased production of angora products.

    "As of Nov. 27, H&M stopped all production of angora products until we have secured that our strict product policy is being followed," a spokesperson for the U.K.-based retailer e-mailed TODAY.com in a statement on Dec. 17, adding that customers who have purchased angora products can return them for a full refund.

    Getty Images, TOPSHOP
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    Katy Perry's geisha-inspired AMAs performance -

    Against a lavish backdrop of floating lotus blossoms and a Shinto shrine, Katy Perry, 29, performed the AMAs opening act on Nov. 24 in powdery white makeup and a cleavage-baring kimono. Fan-wielding dancers fluttered across the stage, as some glided through the air with colorful umbrellas.

    The number triggered a flurry of tweets from viewers, many of whom accused Perry of appropriating Japanese culture and perpetuating harmful stereotypes of Asian women.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
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    Lululemon's too-sheer yoga pants -

    In March 2013, Lululemon Athletica’s too-sheer yoga pants transformed some women’s workouts into unintentional peep shows. The company fielded complaints, both about fabric that snags and pills easily and about customer service. The company shared a statement about those issues with NBCNews.com in early Nov.

    "Quality is of utmost importance to us," the statement said. "If any guest is experiencing an issue with their product that they believe to be related to quality, we encourage them to visit their local store or call our Guest Education Center so we can make it right."

    Getty Images; Reuters
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    New Miss America's Indian heritage sparks racist comments -

    On Sept. 15, Miss New York, Syracuse native Nina Davuluri, won the Miss America crown, and as soon as she did, Twitter lit up with comments suggesting she was an Arab, a foreigner, and a terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda.

    "I have to rise above that," she said, according to the AP. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

    Lucas Jackson / Reuters
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    Andy Cohen declines hosting Miss Universe in Russia -

    On Aug. 15, "Watch What Happens Live" star Andy Cohen told his friend and Miss Universe pageant co-host of the past two years, E! News' Giuliana Rancic, that he turned the hosting gig down because he's "concerned for his safety."

    "The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," he told Rancic, adding that he "didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia."

    David Becker / Getty Images
  • Fashion controversies of 2013

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    H&M pulls native-inspired headdress -

    Fashioner retailer H&M pulled a faux feather headdress from its American stores, following the same move by the chain’s Canadian stores that was prompted by complaints that the colorful hair piece was offensive to native tribal culture.

    The U.S. stores were told to stop selling the item, H&M spokeswoman Marybeth Schmitt told TODAY.com on Aug. 12.

    “We received three complaints about the item and we always want to listen to our customers and their feedback,” said Emily Scarlett, an H&M spokeswoman for Canada. “Because our intention was never to offend anyone, we chose to remove it from our shelves.”

    Kim Wheeler / CTV
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    Bride burns wedding gown - while wearing it -

    Newlywed Natasha Samuel poured gasoline on her dress and set it on fire – while still wearing it.

    Israeli photographer Erik Simantov captured the stunt in May on video, as well as in a series of photographs. He told TODAY.com that the photo shoot was part of the “trash the dress” trend, in which brides destroy theirs gown and it’s all caught on camera.

    He knows that others, particularly Americans, have been skeptical and even critical of the idea. “They think about fire in a different way from us,” he said. “I know it’s dangerous, but most of the people like this photo.”

    Erik Simantov
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    Hermes sells $91,500 crocodile T-shirt -

    A crocodile T-shirt from Hermes (purveyor of handbags with price tags that regularly creep into the quadruple digits) was selling for whopping $91,500 at the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship store in March 2013.

    At time of publication, Hermes had not responded to TODAY.com’s request for comment, but a Hermes store associate told Fashionista.com that this line of shirts featuring “innovative” technology runs in the $60,000 to $100,000 range.

    TODAY
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    Michelle Obama’s style ‘dreadful,’ says Westwood -

    In a March 2013 interview with The New York Times, designer Vivienne Westwood – while discussing her “Punk: Chaos to Couture” exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum – took a few jabs at Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices. "It’s dreadful what she wears," the designer said.

    The response, as expected, was less than forgiving, with readers calling Westwood a “very bitter and mean person,” “irrelevant” and even suggesting "someone’s in a snit because their clothes aren't being worn.”

    Rick Wilking / Reuters
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    Jennifer Lawrence calls out 'Photoshopped' Dior ad -

    While walking the 2013 Oscars red carpet in Feb., 22-year-old actress Jennifer Lawrence was shown photos from the 2013 Spring/Summer Dior ad campaign for the first time and remarked that they looked nothing like her.

    “Oh my God I haven’t seen this,’’ she told Access Hollywood. “That doesn’t look like me at all. I love Photoshop more than anything in the world.’’

    Dior
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    Moms angry over Skechers' 'Daddy's Money' shoes -

    In Feb., Skechers revealed their latest tween collection, called "Daddy's Money", and the marketing campaign for the sneaker wedges boasted the tagline: "Get spoiled with Daddy's money, ultra cool shoes that will put you in the spotlight with a dose of swag and a 2-inch hidden wedge."

    As expected, moms weren't too pleased about a new ad targeting tweens – one that puts undue pressure on dads' credit cards.

    Zappos
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    Anne Hathaway apologizes for last-minute Oscar gown switch -

    After many criticized the pale pink dress Anne Hathaway wore to the Academy Awards – largely due to its unfortunately-placed darts – there was still the issue of why the actress wasn't wearing her go-to designer, Valentino. To many, it felt like a snub, especially as Valentino's design house sent out a press release stating it was indeed dressing the "Les Miserables" star prior to the event.

    The A-lister felt prompted to release an official apology. "It came to my attention late Saturday night that there would be a dress worn to the Oscars that is remarkably similar to the Valentino I had intended to wear, and so I decided it was best for all involved to change my plans," the actress said in a statement, according to PEOPLE magazine.

    John Shearer / AP
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    Iranian news agency adds sleeves to Michelle Obama's dress -

    The Iranian Fars News Agency restricted first lady Michelle Obama's right to bare arms following her appearance at the Academy Awards by digitally altering her dress in an online report about the event. Obama's shoulder-baring Oscars dress became one with sleeves covering her shoulders and upper arms in the report.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
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    Vogue features Hurricane Sandy fashion spread -

    When Vogue decided to pay tribute to the heroes of Hurricane Sandy in its Feb. 2013 issue, the magazine took a distinctly high-fashion approach: sticking supermodels in a set of stormy scenes alongside real first responders.

    But the glossy photos left a bad taste in some critics' mouths, coming off as insensitive or offensive.

    Vogue
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    Gun-themed fashion show criticized -

    German designer Phillipp Plein sent weapon-wielding models down his Autumn/Winter 2013 show during Milan Menswear Fashion Week on Jan. 14, 2013. The tattooed, menacing-looking strutters carried automatic weapons, wore gas masks, and were even body-painted with slogans such as "ONLY KILL FOR LOVE" and "LIFE'S A GAME AND IT'S NOT FAIR."

    Several outlets and fashion fans said Plein's latest shock factor show wasn't appreciated. "Fashion proved (once again) how painfully out of touch it can be with the rest of the world," wrote New York magazine reporter Hilary Moss.

    Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images
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