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Monday Maul: The Row Over Olsen Twins’ Fur Backpacks

Vin Paneccasio

NEW YORK, IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE — Iconic crocodilian fashion designer al-Liga t’Or’s latest, one-of-a-kind luxury accessory has raised the ire of a human-rights organization that opposes what’s come to be known as “runway retribution.”

“The coexistence movement will not achieve its goals as long as designers like al-Liga t’Or continue to punish their human counterparts for man’s unconscionable exploitation, torture, and murder of nonhuman species,” a spokesperson for Species for Coexistence and Against Retribution said in a prepared statement.

The most recent addition to t’Or’s Karmic Balance Collection is a “Patchwork Olsen Twins” backpack made from pieces of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the American child actors-turned fashion designers. The bag will be sold at auction this month at t’Or’s exclusive Karmic Balance Club. Industry insiders have speculated that the backpack could fetch as much as $17 million.

Animal-rights organizations recently criticized the Olsen twins for designing a nearly $17,000 fur backpack.

In June 2012, the International Business Times reported that “the $16,900 backpack is made out of a patch of multicolor animal fur. Versions also exist in alligator and calfskin.”

The bags are produced by The Row, which “was established in 2006 by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen” and “reflects a sense of relaxed and timeless elegance,” according to its website.

“One species’ ‘timeless elegance’ is another species’ brutal death,” t’Or said in a press release announcing the “Patchwork Olsen Twins” backpack. “Likewise, one designer’s materials are another designer’s body parts.”

“As much as we understand and even appreciate his point of view, we’re very disappointed in al-Liga,” the SCAR spokesperson said. “He’s very influential among aspiring and ascendant nonhuman designers who are likely to produce derivative work. The use of human flesh and bone in ready-to-wear and couture collections simply undercuts our claim on the moral high ground.”

In a sarcastic and unrepentant e-mail to The Daily Maul, t’Or responded to SCAR’s comments by saying, “As much as I understand and appreciate what SCAR is trying to accomplish, the Olsen twins make a better backpack than they did actors or designers.”

One industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Maul that the next piece in t’Or’s Karmic Balance Collection will be a winter hat made from Karl Lagerfeld’s head.

“Something like that could sell for as much as $39 million at auction,” the industry source said.

In January 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that “German-born Lagerfeld, 75, a contemporary of the late Yves Saint Laurent, said that he did not himself wear fur. But he defended the practice, saying there was ‘an industry who lives from that.’ Hunters in the north ‘make a living having learnt nothing else than hunting,’ he said, ‘killing those beasts who would kill us if they could.'”

The Olsen twins could not be reached for comment, having been turned into a backpack.

The Monday Maul cartoon was created for The Daily Maul by New York-based artist Vin Paneccasio.

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