For animal lovers and animal activists with a love for fashion, fake fur has been a go-to material for the past forty years. Whether you grew up at the height of PETA’s anti-fur campaign, when they would throw buckets of blood on fur-clad models walking down the runway, or you remember a naked Christy Turlington who would “rather go naked than wear fur,” many of us have tried to find a more ethical solution to the eternally in-style fur look. And while we thought fake fur was the answer, a recent study conducted by NBC’s Rossen Reports, shows that many items of clothing like coats and shoes currently being sold as fake fur, were actually real fur.
Although the brands investigated claimed it was all a clerical error, whether by the online store copy-writers, or by the actual factories simply sewing on the wrong label, and immediately offered to delve deeper into the matter and offer refunds to those customers who were misled, the truth is that this is not the first time fake fur items have been proven to contain real animal fibers. In fact, as recent as 2012, items that contained less than $150 worth of fur, were allowed to leave out the fur content from the label. And although we associate fur to be expensive and a part of the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, the good fake fur that looks and feels like the real thing is often more expensive than well, the real thing. This is perhaps one of the only times in fashion that the “fake” is preferred over the real thing.
According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 100 million Americans believe that buying and wearing real fur is “morally wrong,” and yet each year the fur industry shows an increase in sales from the previous year. Fur was everywhere last year, seen in the runways of everyone from Fendi, who are known for their collectible, bold furs, and other labels like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. Not content with only wearing fur in the fall, designers like Marni, and Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, also showed it in the spring 2015 runways. Many people who do not support the fur industry, choose to wear “vintage” or “recycled” fur coats, reasoning that they are not killing any new animals for their fashion, while others often go the fake fur route. New brands like the UK-based Shrimps, have made fake fur their trademark, taking a staple of classic British style and re-working it into modern, new classic. If the labels and companies that manufacture these products cannot be trusted to tell us the truth about the animal products they use or don’t use, it’s up to the consumer to do the research and just like with everything else, we have to speak out with the internet–and with our money–until “slip-ups” like these are no longer common.