PETA's newest "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign star has an interesting claim to fame: he used to date Marc Jacobs.
The former model had a brief, but publicized affair with the designer back in 2008. He's since starred in LOGO reality show The A-List New York and gotten married to a Brit. But it's his relationship with Jacobs that seems to have landed him this modeling gig, which also appears to target the fashion community (and perhaps the gay fashion community, specifically). Huh?
In a pretty weird Page Six item, Armacost tries to explain how having dated Marc Jacobs (who has some strong opinions about designers and controversy) ties into the whole anti-fur thing. “Being a part of Marc’s world for a little bit, and seeing him use fur and hides from alligators for leather, then meeting Dan [Mathews, PETA's Senior Vice President] six years later, it’s all come full circle,” he told the paper. Mathews also commented on the use of fur in the gay community, alleging that the "gay community at large has avoided wearing fur" but "there’s gay stylists and designers that keep it visible."
In the ad, he'll appear on a runway nude holding a sign that says “Turn Your Back on Fur,” so an ass shot seems like a strong possibility. So does a PETA presence at Lincoln center during fashion week. The ad is set to run in "fashion magazines and circulars" in September, timed to coincide with fashion week, where, since designers are showing spring, there probably won't be much fur anyway, at least not on the runways.
This whole thing raises some questions for us. For one, how exactly is one's sexuality relevant when it comes to the visibility of fur? Second, do you think seeing his ex in a PETA campaign will make Jacobs think twice about using fur in his designs? And third, does it kind of seem like Armacost is doing this more to boost his image than to help animals? And is it weird that he's using a four year old relationship with Marc Jacobs to do so?
Update: We reached out to PETA for more information about the campaign and have learned that it is indeed targeting gays in the fashion industry. Also, Aramcost reached out to them and Tim Gunn is involved. Here's what a rep for PETA told us:
The naked model protesting on the "runway" is Austin Armacost. In the final ad, his nudity will be covered by a QR code, which leads people to Tim Gunn's PETA video on fur [ed. note: It's not very pleasant]. It'll be a bait-and-switch campaign that will break in the gay press during Fashion Weeks in New York and across Europe—our first ad aimed at the gay stylists and designers who keep fur visible. As a gay model, Austin has always been alarmed that some otherwise progressive people in the international gay fashion pack (including Austin's ex, Marc Jacobs) disregard the animals who are skinned alive for coats, collars, or cuffs. But many, like Calvin Klein, have evolved on the issue and now shun fur. Austin approached PETA about teaming up, and we're thrilled to have him join our naked anti-fur campaign.