New York, April 29 (ANI): The nutria - a giant, semi-aquatic rat is said to be coming back into fashion as a 'responsible' way to wear real fur.
Vanity Fair reports that the rodents are a scourge in the southern U.S., which means it wouldn't bother animal lovers if a few went missing and end up as a coat or hat.
In the 1930s, the two-foot-long, 10-to-20-pound rats, native to South America, were brought to New Orleans as part of the fur trade and their long, silky brown fur reached its style peak in the 70s.
Ever since the fur backlash, though, the pesky rodent population in Louisiana has been growing again-and could doom thousands of acres of coastal wetlands.
However, fashionistas are jumping at the chance to work with nutria.
Menswear designer Billy Reid sent the rat down his fall 2010 runway on hats, collars and cuffs, and Oscar de la Renta and J. Mendel have also used nutria in recent collections.
"I've seen [nutria] affect the area I live in. I really haven't had a lot of experience working with fur, and this was a chance to do it that just felt right," the New York Daily News quoted Reid, who is based in Alabama, as telling VF.
"I love the masculinity of it. It's sort of the bad-ass fur," he added. (ANI)