SATIN OR SILK: Why Your Faux Fur Isn't as Fake as You Might Think

Sunday, July 21

Why Your Faux Fur Isn't as Fake as You Might Think

This topic has been in the news a lot recently but for anyone who didn't get the memo or still needs convincing, I wanted to speak out about the use of domestic animal furs in many chain store - even designer - garments. Even items labelled or marketed as "faux" fur may not be so fake after all...

Earlier this year, a Humane Society US investigation found that Marc by Marc Jacobs trimmed coats labelled as 'faux fur' actually contained Chinese raccoon dog fur. Back in 2007, HSUS also tested 25 coats from Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and MARC New York (of designer Andrew Marcs, not to be confused with MJ) that were labelled as being 'faux' or synthetic. 24 of 25 coats were incorrectly labelled. 20 were actually raccoon dog fur and three were made from domestic dogs. The other was wolf fur.



What the baise?

Pardon my French but really, this is not okay. Raccoon dogs and other animals are skinned alive for their pelts which are shockingly cheaper than synthetic fur. Many consumers would naturally deduce that an inexpensive item of clothing could not possibly be made with real fur but clearly we cannot rely on price as an indicator of our clothing's origin.

And it's happening in Australia too. Despite John Howard's ban on the import of cat and dog fur in 2004, it is still imported illegally. In 2011, products sold in Myer and Wittner were suspected to contain dog fur. Myer, David Jones, Target, Big W and Kmart pledged to go fur-free in October 2012 to avoid the risk of this happening again in their stores. Oh and those omg-it-feels-so-soft-just-like-the-real-thing curled up cat ornaments you've probably seen at a market or your friend's place - well turns out they feel like a real cat because they often are. Gross right?

Some quick facts

  • China is the largest supplier of this fur providing 85% of it globally
  • 75% of domestic fur illegally imported into Australia comes from China
  • Korea, the Phillipines, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia also produce cat and dog fur
  • 2 Million cats and dogs are slaughtered each year
  • Some are breed and abused in squalid fur farms
  • Some are strays abducted from the streets 
  • And some are pets stolen from their homes

Weighing it up

It's easy to judge people who appear to be supporting a grossly inhumane industry but it's important to refrain from shaming people who wear fur (although I do kind of admire your guts flour bombers). Buying clothing with genuine synthetic 'fur' or purchasing an old chubby from a thrift store to support a charity is in no way unethical. No one has the right to dictate what someone else can wear - it's a completely personal decision.

So where do I stand? Right now, as for my own wardrobe, I choose not to wear fur in any form whether it is fifty years old or more fake than a Channel tote bag at a street market. I don't want to advocate that fur in any form is stylish or okay because it's not. Wearing faux-fur might be good for your conscience but it doesn't send a message that 'no animals were harmed in the making of this hoodie' it just says 'fur looks good' and as long as that message is perpetuated the demand for fur will grow.

But that's just me, what do you think?

Further reading and videos down below


Further reading (and watching) to help you decide

Faux Fur: Hot or Not? via Peta.org
Fur - the Ugly Face of Fashion via Choose Cruelty Free (warning: this one has a few pictures)
Is it Unethical to Wear Fur? via Debate.org

My References

McShane, L. (2013, March 7). Marc Jacobs' 'faux fur' garments actually use the coats of Chinese canines: Humane Society report. Retrieved July 21, 2013 from Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/century-21-selling-real-fur-faux-humane-society-article-1.1282382

Wigmore, B. (2007, February 23). US campaigners reveal 'fake fur' trim is actually made from dogs. Retrieved July 21, 2013 from Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-438110/US-campaigners-reveal-fake-fur-trim-actually-dogs.html

Attard, K. (2013). Mistaken Identity: Mislabelling of Fur Products for Retail Sale. Retrieved July 21, 2013 from Business in Focus: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2013/03/mislabelling-of-fur-products-for-retail-sale/


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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! I used to really be on the fence about faux fur; even though I wouldn't wear the real stuff I wasn't sure how I felt about the fake stuff. I was afraid someone would see me wearing it, think it was real, and think "oh, it's okay to wear that". The different stories about the "fake" fur that turned out to be real kind of ended that dilemma. I won't buy anything else with "faux" fur trim etc. on it--I'd rather not take the chance!

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    Replies
    1. Same! And thanks for your lovely comment, I'm glad you liked the post :)

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