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In style at NY Fashion Week: Nutria rat?

  • Critters seen as 'guilt-free fur' may debut at big show
  • Press kits sent to 20 high-profile designers
In style at NY Fashion Week: Nutria rat?

A motley crew of New Orleans do-gooders is hoping the high-brow designers at New York Fashion Week show a little love to the “guilt-free fur” of -- wait for it -- the nutria rat.

New Orleans-based eco-friendly group Righteous Fur and a class of Loyola University graphic design students have sent about 20 fashion designers -- including Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Billy Reid -- press kits of nutria pelts and literature about the pest in hopes of getting them to showcase some of the pieces during their shows, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Big and quick with matchbox-sized chompers for teeth, the semi-aquatic critters are the bane of Louisiana’s struggle to preserve its coastal wetlands. Now, a plan to bring them in style may help the state and line the pockets of a few fashionistas.

Reid, a Louisiana native, ordered 50 nutria pelts to add to his fall/winter collection, which will debut Friday in New York, the Times Picayune reports. While this week’s show won’t be the first time nutria has been front and center at a New York fashion show, this will be the biggest stage yet. In 2010, Righteous Fur's project director Cree McCree helped organize a fashion show, Nutria-palooza, to raise awareness about the fashionable fur.

She saw the use of nutria as a “guilt-free fur that belongs on the runway instead of at the bottom of the bayou,” she said, according to the New York Times.

“If they’re being killed anyway … then why not make something beautiful out of them?” she said.

But the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is still displeased.

“Using any fur in fashion, no matter how it’s obtained, promotes the idea that it’s glamorous to decorate yourself in the skin of a dead animal,” Danielle Katz, campaign coordinator for PETA, said in a statement obtained by the New York Post.

What do you think HLN readers? Should nutria be left alone? Or should New York Fashion Week let the fur fly?

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