Faux fur issues

Many environmentally conscious people refuse to buy fur products unless it is “faux” (fake) fur. But is it really fake and what is true faux fur made from?

The last couple of decades have certainly seen many people change their views on wearing fur clothing products; it was just a matter of educating people as to how the animals were treated and how the fur trade endangered many species. The battle against the fur fashion industry has been a great success.

My mother used to run a clothing store, and while she was a lover of nature, one of her favorite pieces was an arctic fox stole she acquired in the 70’s.

I remember as a child stroking it and being amazed at the softness and beauty of the pelt. It was a much treasured piece. My mother didn’t buy it new and I think she always felt a little guilty about it, but late in her life she kept it out of sight until her dying day; after which we disposed of it. It was hard, as it was so connected to her, but it just didn’t seem right to keep it.

If my mother had been brought up in the 80’s or 90’s, I’m sure she would have opted for faux fur as so many people do now.

But, for all those people who purchase faux fur; there may be a snag.

It may not be fake fur!

An investigation by the Humane Society of the United States has discovered big fashion houses selling jackets with  raccoon dog fur trim. Raccoon dogs aren’t true dogs, but a member of the canine family. As the name suggests, they look a little like racoons. They are native to  Japan, Siberia and Manchuria and have been introduced to other Asian countries. Their populations are in decline partly due to the fur trade.

These jackets were sometimes advertised as faux fur, or coming from another species or had no labeling whatsoever.

Furthermore, the HSUS also discovered dog fur on sale.

Clothing companies have been getting away with the practice of not labelling some fur products due to existing US laws allowing jackets trimmed with under $150 worth of fur to be sold without declaring the fur’s origins. That may be about to change if the new Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act is passed.

Misrepresentation aside, the faux fur issues run a little deeper. Even if the fake fur is indeed fake, it’s likely made from polyester or nylon – both environmentally harsh synthetic fibers. Polyester is derived from oil; as is nylon. Both products also require huge amounts of vast arrays of toxic chemicals in their production. In the case of nylon production, one of the emissions is Nitrous Oxide – a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. Both of these synthetics also take an incredibly long time to break down.

I’m certainly not stating what you should and shouldn’t wear; but in this age of going ‘green’ there’s so many traps for the unwary as I’m discovering daily. People with good motivations are being fooled by corporate spin and shady practices.

In your struggle to lead a more environmentally friendly life; take nothing at face value and don’t trust the clever marketers. Research your purchase choices thoroughly wherever you can and the planet will thank you for it.