Your faux fur is not the ethical solution you were hoping it to be.
This all started with a discussion of the fur coat at the beginning of Butterfield 8, which then shifted on to the issue of fur in the fashion industry, where my friend then explained the dilemma of fur. There are problems with real fur and faux fur, neither option is entirely ethical, and we are only ever aware of the obvious problems of real fur. What is faux fur made of? Why it isn’t necessarily fake? What are the issues fast fashion presents with its use of faux fur?
An increasing number of brands have started going fur-free but there are environmental and ethical costs that come with it. There are numerous brands that have announced their fur-free policies: Tom Ford, Gucci, and Versace among others. In September 2018, Los Angeles banned the sale and manufacturing of fur by 2020. There are few who still want real fur, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want fur, they just need it to be faux fur. You can find it on numerous items, including coats, shoes and keychains.
Despite its popularity, faux fur contains plastic, and the synthetic materials are harmful for the environment. There is a body of evidence that shows the environmental effects of these microfibres, which are very small microscopic plastic particles, they are shed from many synthetic garments when they are washed. This is a problem for ocean life as they can ingest plastic fibres, in turn, it threatens our own health if we choose to eat those sea animals. They plastic inside them goes inside of us by consuming them. The problem with these synthetic garments is that not many of them come with a laundry bag that help trap the microfibres each time they are washed.
The fast fashion industry isn’t exactly helping with issue of faux fur either. The industry focuses on short-lived trends, use poor-quality materials and construct clothes using cheap labour. A company’s profits will always be placed over the ethical implications for the planet, animals and other humans in this industry. The faux fur currently in the market will soon have more faux fur options added in the next week. It’s a repetitive and destructive cycle. The other pressing problem is that not all faux fur is fur-free. There is still a lot of real fur being produced under harsh and inhumane conditions, making it cheaper to produce products with real fur, rather than buy-buying faux fur.
You can still try to be ethical despite the problems that come with real fur and faux fur. For one, you can buy ethical alternatives, since you don’t really need fur to make any bold statements with your outfits. There are other statement pieces you can purchase that use eco-materials. After all, we’re in London, wet fur whether it’s real or fake is not a good look on anyone.
Another option is to purchase you fur secondhand. There are so many fur garments, real and fake, that are left in the secondhand market. Just head over to a secondhand retailer, such as Etsy, eBay a charity shop, or a vintage market. You won’t be consuming any new resources with this option, reducing your carbon footprint and saving your bank account from steeper prices.
Alternatively, instead of buying different types of faux fur, just buy fewer quality items that are long-lasting. Prior to purchasing a fur garment, you need to decide whether you want it or need it. You can decide this by estimating the cost per wear. If you purchase a timeless garment, you can wear it repeatedly and get a better bang for your buck, rather than using a piece once or twice then throwing it away.