Is Your Faux Fur Coat Doing As Much Damage As A Real One Would?

The short answer: no. We’re team faux all the way...


by Charlie Byrne |

We are the generation who grew up with the legendary supers, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington, stripping down to their own skin stating they would prefer to go naked than wear real fur in a campaign for animal rights organisation, PETA. From then on, it was drilled in to us: never wear real fur. Never.

But it was fine, we were also the generation of improved faux fur fashion. No more than this season, than when fur of faux varierty was a major trend on the AW14 runways. The high street stores look like The Muppets are hanging out on their rails, and independent faux fur brands like Charlotte Simone, Helen Moore and Shrimps provide luxurious alternatives to real fur.

And frankly it has never been easier to swerve real animal skins and buy a fake option that feels just as sumptuous. Life is good, and we are warm. But now news has emerged that the eco-impact of faux fur has been called in to question – and it’s left us wondering if we should be wearing any type of fur at all?

What previously seemed like the ‘good’ choice to be making, has now been said to also have eco drawbacks. The arguement goes that because faux fur is made using non-renewable petroleum based synthetics, and is treated with heat and toxins to make it feel like the real deal, it’s arguable that its impact on the environment is pretty hefty.

READ MORE: How To Actually Wear That Faux Fur Coat You Just Bought

We needed more infomation, so we asked the guy behind the claims, Mike Moser, chief executive of the British Fur Trade Association, to explain. ‘Real fur is a better environmental choice than fake fur for the simple reason is that it’s production and ultimate disposal is far less damaging to the environment,’ he told us. ‘For example, fake fur made from petroleum products, uses three times more renewable energy. Remember, a fur coat will last 20 to 30 years and is then often remodelled extending its life even further. Any environmental demand is spread over this period. A fake fur product might last one or two years of being worn and then 1,000 years alongside plastic bags in landfill.’

Of course, we should point out that it’s the guy who wants us to wear real fur who’s slating the faux stuff. Mimi Bekhechi, director of PETA UK, is keen to argue that the impact of real animal pelts is more toxic to the environment, even before animal cruelty is even brought into the equation. ‘Recent independent studies from CE Delft have found that the impact of production of a mink coat on climate change is three to 10 times higher than the impact of the faux-fur coat,’ she explains. As real fur is also treated with harsh chemicals, PETA argue that the biodegradability of real fur is also poor, combined with the often barbaric methods through which it is farmed. ‘We all have the choice to be cruel or kind, so when real fur involves anally electrocuting a fox or slitting the throat of a rabbit for fur trim, choosing one of the many soft, warm and luxurious faux or fur-free options that are also more eco-friendly, it becomes a no-brainer,’ says Mimi.

While we’re not denying the fact that many faux fur items are probably produced under dubious conditions, the whole arguement stinks of a promotion campaign for real fur, which is something we’re not OK about getting behind.

Ultimately, if you’re buying a new coat, do think of the enviroment and don’t buy something you’re not sure about, only to chuck it away days later, and if you are going to ditch last year’s coat, then donate it to a charity who can make good use of pre-loved faux fur.

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Follow Charlie on Twitter @Charliebyrne406

Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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