Tim Gunn has hosted his fair share of fashion-forward charity events and parties over the years, but Thursday night when PETA unveiled its newest I’d Rather Go Naked ad (starring the Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson), Gunn told us that he won’t just go to any old party.
“I’m extremely picky about what I do support and where I do go and where I do lend my name,” he said. “So it’s strategic on my part. I hate to say this, there are a ton of things I say no to.”
But for a cause like PETA, the animal rights group, Gunn simply couldn’t say no. He’s been working with the organization since he was the chairman of the department of fashion design at Parsons, the school that produced such talents as Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford.
“I wanted my students to be fully informed about decisions that they make not only about fur, but about leather, about wool,” Gunn said. “Not saying you can’t use these things, but saying, if you’re going to use them, you need to consider where they’re coming from, and how the animals are treated, whether it’s a fox or it’s a cow.”
It was then that we noticed that Gunn was wearing shoes made out of a cow (and we’re pretty sure his suit was wool, too). So we had to ask what he thought made fur more offensive — or less assailable — than leather.
“My advocacy is really directed toward fur specifically,” Gunn said. “It’s so much more succinct and tangible, and there are lots of fake fur options. It’s not like it’s the only thing you can do. There are fewer options when it comes to leather, at least right now.”
One day, when there’s a stylish alternative to leather, we look forward to seeing Gunn jump on that bandwagon, too.