UNIVERSITY FASHION - 23rd May 2000
Fur was flying yesterday (Monday) over a budding fashion designer who created a range of clothing in sealskin.
Attractive blonde Dorthe Christiansen's controversial designs have landed her in a row with animal rights campaigners. Dorthe, 24, has designed the outdoor clothes as part of her fashion design course at the University of Wales. Her range of clothing includes trousers and waistcoats but she has also dreamed-up a seal fur bikini.

Angry animal lovers yesterday(Mon) refused to give Dorthe's clothing their seal of approval. But Danish-born Dorthe, a second-year student at University of Wales College, Newport, defended her decision to use sealskins which she imports from Greenland. She said: "I am doing nothing wrong. I am surprised at the fuss because in Denmark the trend is to wear seal fur to keep warm in Winter. "The skins are from seals which are not clubbed to death but shot to provide food. "It is just the same as cattle being killed in Britain to provide food. "They are adult seals and I would never dream of using the skins of baby seals."

Dorthe's choice of fashion material shocked her college tutors at first but she says: "They now agree with what I am doing. "People in Britain wear leather jackets and coats - and I don't see the difference. "I think seal skin is very attractive and I will continue to use it in my designs." Fashion degree course leader Sharon Rees said: "We were concerned when Dorthe said she was using sealskins for her designs. "My view was coloured by reports that the seals are bred just to provide skins for adorning the human body and how immoral that is. "But Dorthe has carried out a lot of research and to ensure that the use of seal fur is ethically correct. "The skins are numbered and can clearly be tracked to where the come from as part of the food chain. "And part of a fashion course of this type is to challenge normal convention by trying something different."

But animal rights campaigners lashed out at Dorthe's use of sealskins for fashion items. Pressure group UK Animal Aid hit out at Dorthe's sealskin fashion designs. The group described college officials as "irresponsible " for allowing her to go ahead with them. Aid campaigner Elaine Toland said: "I think most sensible people will be appalled by the use of sealskin in the woman's designs. "The killing of seals is a cruel and ugly business and everything possible should be done to discourage it." Animal Aid are considering demonstrating against Dorthe's designs through their South Wales offshoot Fauna. Ms Toland said: "The campaign in this country to persuade women not to wear fur clothing has been a big success. "But we mustn't rest on our laurels because the fur trade is trying to sneak back into women's clothing by introducing fur trims and fur linings. "The fur business has always been a bloody one and we would absolutely deplore people like this designer who seems to enjoy working in fur. "We would urge all the students at the college to boycott her if she decides to give a fashion show of any sort."

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