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The Influence of Animals on Fashion

by Nkem Emefiele

Animals have had an influence on clothing designs for a long, long time. From their conspicuous marks on the fashion trends of various decades, to the apparel created by talented fashion designers for their collections, to leather coats and luxurious animal-skin handbags; animals have always been a key muse.


The possibilities of animal-inspired clothing choices has not lessened in 2024. In fact, animal print has been everywhere already - with social media coining the idea of “leopard print as a neutral.”



Animals have regularly infiltrated how we dress, causing many major fashion movements. 


Trends including big and loud fur coats, whether it is an Afghan coat with beautiful fur tufts along the cuffs sleeves from the neckline down to the bottom of the coat, or a piece of clothing with a leopard print pattern.

 

Fur often makes an appearance throughout the year with different alterations. Cropped fur coats were everywhere in the previous years, fir trims were huge across the ‘90s and ‘00s, and fur even makes it way onto accessories like the trapper hats we saw everywhere.


However, 2024 has labelled vintage, long fur coats, whether faux or thrifted genuine fur, as one of the biggest trends of the year. 


This view on fur coats has been shared by many fashion designers who presented them in their Fall/Winter 2024 shows. Designers such as Dolce and Gabbana, Armani, and Fendi all dressed their models in this garment. 


On the other hand, the Afghan coat, which has similarities to the beautiful fur coat, evokes a bohemian and free-spirited aura. The Afghan-styled coat is a fashion piece that saw slight popularity in 2023, and hopes to make a comeback in the early months of 2024 due to its simplistic nature in terms of its styling process.

 

Fur and Afghan coats are a delight to style as they add luxury and flare to an outfit. To achieve this aura, a light or dark fur coat can be coupled with a simple black dress, either long or short, which should be paired with black heelsand sheer, black tights


Additionally, styling an Ushanka hat with a long-lengthoversized fur coat, hiding the underneath layers can create a majestic outlook on the outfit. 


If you are looking for something that screams ‘that girl’ whilst being effortless, I suggest pairing a cream or white fur coat that is mid-length, with light wash ‘skater jeans’, coupled with a fitted shirt that has some lace accents to reach that fashion goal.


To achieve the ‘free-spirited’ connotations attached to the Afghan coat, style it with a beautiful pair of black wide-leg trousers and a fitted white blouse finished off with gold maximalist jewellerynecklaces and rings. The Afghan coat can also be worn with a dark blue denim skirt, with a funky-patterned, long-sleeved, fitted cropped shirt to reveal a Bohemian, 70s vibe associated with the outfit.

 

Like fur coats, leopard print is a pattern that comes and goes in the fashion world, the only difference being it comes back in a faster and cyclical structure, resurfacing every few years. 


This constant reappearance is due to its timeless feel and its brown, warm colour palette making it an easy item to style. 


Moreover, its contrasting ability to enhance a boring outfit is another feature that is adored by many people, further amplifying its simplistic styling qualities. All you need is a basic day-to-day outfit coupled with an accessory or garment that consists of the leopard print design and instantly your outfit goes from ordinary to a ten out of ten.

 

Leopard print is known for its versatile nature, meaning no matter the weather it works. 


In the winter, a pair of leopard print wide-leg trousers can be styled with a basic white t-shirt, with a soft and cosy grey knitted jumper over the top of it, coupled with black pointed-toe heels and a lovely burgundy bag bringing the whole outfit together! 


Likewise, in the summer the outfit follows a similar path however, scrap the knitted jumper and let the white shirt radiate through


Another winter outfit can consist of, a long leopard print fur coat over the top of a basic outfit. A basic outfit being made up of an oversized black knitted jumper paired with blue denim ‘skater jeans’, finished off with a large beige bag complimenting the deep tan shades of the fur coat. 


Whereas in the summer, the adaptable leopard print can be styled as small leopard print shorts with a maximalist chunky belt, a plain black t-shirt or tank top and a wonderful pair of black calf-length boots, finished off with a brooding red bag


Another summer style can be a simple yet stunning sheer leopard print dress, complimented with gold jewelleryand a simple pair of jet-black or ruby-red kitten heels. Lastly, leopard print can be styled in a chunky knit scarfwrapped over an oversized black leather jacket and a pair of denim blue ‘skater jeans’ topped with a comfy sweater within the zipped layers of the jacket.

 

Inferred from the array of style choices are basic outfits, revealing the magic incorporating leopard print and fur can do to your outfits.


Edited by Emily Duff

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