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One of the most iconic images in the UK is on the verge of possibly getting an overhaul—at the hands of Stella McCartney, no less.
According to reports, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is meeting with Peter Luff, the UK's minister for defense equipment, to propose that the Queen's Guards (above) trade in their big furry bear hats for vegan plastic-fiber hats designed by Stella McCartney.
"Historically, England has a very high regard for animals, so it makes perfect sense that the MoD should continue shedding ceremonial furs from uniforms," McCartney told the Telegraph. "Initially the big bear fur hats were intended to make soldiers look taller as they marched over hills in battle, but they haven't been worn in action for over a hundred years. I've been working on this with Peta for a few years now and am really happy with the final product, as I hope the MoD will be when they see it."
The plastic hats are cheaper, lighter, and "the bears will certainly be happier," said PETA SVP Dan Matthews.
The Ministry of Defense says that while they're open to new ideas, they'll probably be sticking with their existing hats for the time being—they're "rarely worn, need little maintenance and last many years," a spokesperson said. "The MoD remains open to testing material that industry might offer us to assess whether a faux fur meets the requirements for a replacement bearskin hat material... All bearskins used in the UK are sourced from Canada where bears are culled under the direction of the Canadian government to keep the bear population under control." The bearskin hats have been worn in the UK since 1815.
· Could Guards wear Stella McCartney synthetic bearskin? [Telegraph UK]