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May 24, 2011

Fashion Student Lizette Avineri Chooses Compassion

HSUS presentation set her on a fur-free path

  • Lizette cites her cat Penelope as the inspiration for her faux-fur fashions. Lizette Avineri

  • Lizette's faux fur fashions have been featured in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue. Matthew John Pandolse

by P.J. Smith

When senior fashion student Lizette Avineri saw an HSUS presentation at the Parsons New School for Design, right away she wanted to cut out the cruelty of the fur industry and stitch together the amazing alternatives available.

"I sat front row so I could learn exactly why I never want to design with fur," Lizette said. "After the presentation, I immediately contacted The HSUS to figure out how I could work with alternatives."

Fur marketing groups work with fashion schools and encourage future designers to keep fur on the runways through fur donations and sponsorships. That's why The HSUS informs those same students about the cruelty of fur production.

"It is important that these students are educated so they can choose whether to be associated with the unnecessary cruelty in the fur industry,” said Andrew Page, senior director of The HSUS' fur-free campaign. "When students see that they can get the same look and feel of animal fur without the cruelty, the obvious choice is to leave animal fur off their designs."

Ready to go faux

"I love animals and I've always liked animalistic, wild looks in fashion. But I don’t think it is right to kill an animal just to cover our bodies, especially when we don’t have to," Lizette said. "My inspiration is my cat Penelope."

The HSUS arranged for Lizette to receive the same type of faux fur used by Giorgio Armani and Chanel for her senior collection. Thanks to her talents, her designs are now turning heads.

Out of more than 200 fashion students graduating from Parsons’ this year, she was one of the few chosen to take part in the senior fashion show, in front of a crowd of some of Parsons’ most famous fashion alumni. Her colorful faux fur was front and center.

One of her faux-fur pieces has even graced the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue.

The future fashionista

Lizette has already interned for some big names in fashion, and after she graduates she hopes to find a position as an assistant designer for a New York designer.

"If I work for a designer who uses fur, I will make sure he or she knows all about all the alternatives. I think when it comes to fur, a generational change has to happen," Lizette said. "I love animals, and I have a very strong voice. And when I am passionate about something, I make it happen."

P.J. Smith is corporate outreach manager for the Fur-Free Campaign at The Humane Society of the United States.

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