Fake fur, also called fun fur or faux fur, is any material made of synthetic fibers designed to resemble fur, normally as part of a piece of clothing. It was first introduced in 1929 and has been commercially available since the 1950s, but its increasing popularity has been credited to its promotion by animal rights and animal welfare organizations which claim that it is an animal-friendly alternative to traditional fur clothing.
Fake fur is used for all purposes where otherwise real fur (of animal origin) would be used, but also for stuffed animals, fashion accessory and home decorations like pillows, bedding and throws. It is also sometimes used for craft projects because it can be sewn on a sewing machine. Real fur is generally thicker and requires a special machine, hand sewing or an awl to sew it. Lately, fake fur has been increasingly used in the mainstream teen fashion, for example the stores Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle use it for trapper hats and jackets. In the Soviet, and now Russian Army, fish fur is used as a slang term for the fake fur used on winter clothing and the ubiquitous ushanka hats. Similarly, fashion design labels such as Ralph Lauren and Chanel have promoted the use of fake fur in their collections.
Advantages and disadvantages
- The fake fur is a fabric and therefore is relatively easy to sew it
- The fake fur does not require cold storage to prevent deterioration and is impervious to moths.
- A 1979 study commissioned by the Fund for Animals argued that the energy consumption for the production of one coat made out of fake fur was 120 MBtu, compared to 433 MBtu for trapped animals and 7,965 MBtu for animals raised in fur farms. This study has been criticized as being biased and outdated.
- The fake fur is not an animal-use product.
- The fake fur does not require or encourage the breeding of animals in factory farms like real fur.
- Fake fur is not as insulating and does not allow the skin to breath as much as real fur.
- Fake fur is made from several materials including blends of acrylic and modacrylic polymers derived from coal, air, water, petroleum and limestone. These materials can take a long time to break down, possibly anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years.
- Fake furs are not able to keep snow from melting and re-freezing on the fiber filaments; this is very important, especially in hiking, mountain climbing, skiing and other outdoor activities which are done in extreme conditions.
Use of actual fur
In a test by the Humane Society of the United States, coats labeled as having faux-fur trim used actual fur. In the United States, up until 2012, a labeling loophole allowed any piece of clothing that contains less than US$150 of fur to be labeled without mentioning that it included fur. This is the equivalent of thirty rabbits, three raccoons, three red foxes, three domestic dogs, or one bear.
Fashion Designers Utilizing Fake Fur
Faux fur has increasingly become more popular for fashion designers to incorporate throughout their collections. Today’s technology gives faux fur the qualities and techniques as real fur. Hannah Weiland, founder of Shrimps, a London-based faux fur company, says, “I love working with faux fur because it doesn't molt and it feels just as soft. If the faux kind feels as good, why use the real kind?” Weiland is not the only designer taking advantage of faux fur qualities. Additionally, Stella McCartney, a designer with a reputation for ethical and sustainable fashion, incorporates faux fur throughout her collections with tagged patches reading “Fur Free Fur.” In 2014, Hugo Boss pledged to become fur-free publicly in their 2014 Sustainability Report, relaying the message that animal cruelty is never fashionable. They look forward to moving on through the use of faux fur in their future collections. However, the notion of sustainability and ethics aren’t always the reasoning behind designers decision for faux instead of real fur. The ability to control more aspects of manufacturing such as color and volume is one reason designers choose faux. De Libran, the artistic director for Sonia Rykiel, incorporates both real and faux fur in her collections. Her incorporation of faux is based on the playfulness it portrays in her garments through the color and volume she is able to create. In other brands, Prada embraced synthetics in their Fall/Winter 2007 collection. Miuccia Prada, the brand’s owner and designer, commented she was bored with real fur, and as a result, she included all faux in her collection that year. However, today, Prada has been using both real and faux fur throughout their garments. In addition, Dries Van Noten, Hussein Chalayan, Julien David, Julie de Libran for Sonia Rykiel, Kate Spade, and many others all featured faux fur in their fall collections.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Faked furs.|
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