Why Fake Fur Is Actually Worse Than the Real Thing

  • Fashion
Why Fake Fur Is Actually Worse Than the Real Thing

Fluffy coats, hats and keychains may be all over the high street but there's still no quicker way to invite fury than by turning up to a party of right-thinking individuals in a mink coat, never mind mentioning the soft fur pelt decorating your bedroom floor.

For decades we’ve accepted the notion promoted by animal rights campaigners that wearing or buying real fur is ethically and morally bankrupt.

To even suggest you could be wearing the real deal can invite looks of disgust and disdain, possibly even an egging.

Yet recently a more complex and nuanced view has emerged, backed by experts in the fur industry, that suggests faux fur could, in fact, be worse for the environment than the real thing, and being seen in vintage chinchilla outerwear is kinder to the planet than filling your wardrobe with acres of fast, disposable viscose.

Production is important when considering the pros and cons of faking it.

Fake fur is made from non-renewable petroleum based products (requiring vast amounts of energy from extraction and fractionating) such as nylon, acrylic and polyester then treated with heat and chemicals such as resins and silicones to improve its look and feel.

According to the International Fur Trade Federation, these processes alone use three times as much non-renewable energy as the production of real fur.

They also claim that they double the risk of ill health due to emissions of carcinogenic substances during production and are four times as harmful to eco systems because of the toxic side effects of manufacturing.

Similarly, the American Fur Commission claims it takes one gallon of oil to make just three fake fur jackets.

High environmental costs are giving a new generation of ultra woke young people, who care more about sustainability, climate change and their environmental footprint than their predecessors, pause for thought at the tills.

But the crux of it, arguably, is that real fur lasts decades and is biodegradable whereas faux fur doesn’t, is non-biodegradable, frequently more cheaply made and often thrown out within months.

Fast fashion means we consume far more garments than ever before, promoting dependence on foreign oil and acerbating child labour issues in the third world.

A 2015 study of 2,000 women found most items are worn just seven times and, according to the government backed charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Program) a third of unwanted clothes end up in landfill or are incinerated despite having years of use left in them.

Most of them are plastic based polyesters, nylons and acrylics which will sit clogging up our environment for hundreds of years to come.

Real fur, meanwhile, decomposes within a year and is compostable in the garden.

Then there is the environmental impact of washing synthetics such as faux fur.

Two years ago Plymouth University published a study into what happens in your washing machine. They found each average size cycle can release up to hundred of thousands of plastic microfibers which are then swilled into our rivers, waterways and oceans.

As well as polluting marine environments and being ingested by fish, the impact on humans as these minute plastics work their way up the food chain is unknown.

Of course killing animals for vanity is an unwelcome and cruel concept, but the idea that faux fur is an ethical alternative – or even the lesser of two evils - is far from clear cut.

The roots of anti-fur sentiment stretch back to 1994 and a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign featuring supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Elle McPherson posing naked under the slogan ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur’.

Fur fell out of fashion and by 2003 fur farms were banned throughout the UK.

Since 1994, Christy Turlington is the only one of PETA’s original anti fur supermodels that hasn't swung back in favour of real fur.

The British Fur Trade Association has also reported a worldwide increase in real fur sales of 58 per cent since the end of the nineties.

Clearly fur, whether faux or real, is here to stay. It's deciding which, if any, to buy that can leave you out in the cold.

Source: The Sun