Photo courtesy todd kent.
Fur Coats are in—and you need one! Well, technically, they’ve always been in... But buying a fur coat in 2021 actually says A LOT about you. Whether you choose to buy real fur or faux fur speaks volumes about your ethics and just how much you care about animal welfare. But besides style and ethics, there’s a ton of factors to consider when shopping for the purrrfect fur coat for you! We’ll go over some of the reasons to choose one over the other—from quality concerns to environmental impact.
WHY DO PEOPLE BUY REAL FUR?
Supporters of real fur (also referred to as “genuine fur”) claim that it’s better quality and better for the environment than synthetic fur because they are using pelt from real animals (as opposed to man-made fibers). This might seem plausible on the surface, but as we dig deeper into it, we begin to see this claim unravel. The truth is, genuine fur coats have become pretty frowned upon in popular culture (kinda like driving a gas-guzzler in San Francisco), and for good reason… Killing majestic foxes, minks, or any other wild creature just for a fashionable night out isn’t a very heartfelt or considerate thing to do. Rather than having a reverence for and protecting this beautiful place called Earth, some (unknowingly or unconsciously) choose to destroy it for a quick self-esteem boost. Let that sink in for a second. Vanity is ever-present and can even be an important aspect of life, however, harming innocent animals solely to feed your vanity is a bizarre practice that has to end.
Don’t get us wrong… We’re all for self expression. In fact, self expression is literally a pillar of our company culture. And while self expression may have been a bit limited in the past, today you can easily express yourself to the fullest extent, help save the lives of innocent animals, enjoy exquisite quality and craftsmanship, AND be flyer than ever without harming a soul. It wasn’t always this way though. To be entirely honest, fake fur used to be second-rate at best. But, thanks to the advancements in technology we have today, faux fur is now arguably better in appearance and texture than real fur (not to mention a long list of other benefits). Nowadays both iconic fashion houses (like Versace, Gucci, and Tom Ford) and boutique brands (like House of Fluff and Faz not Fur) are all going fur free.
REAL FUR VS. FAUX FUR: WHICH IS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WHY?
When it comes to environmental impact, the truth is that everything has some sort of residual effect. Even Tesla, a brand that’s highly regarded for being green, manufactures electric car batteries that have an impact on the environment. Is it the perfect solution? Of course not. Is it a terrible solution? We wouldn’t say that either. They are doing a fantastic job at leveraging modern-day technology to bring us a step closer to truly carbon-neutral vehicles. And as more technological advancements are made, we’re sure they will continue to further minimize their environmental footprint. Honestly, this is probably one of the most important aspects to consider: We know nothing is purrfect, but, the question we want to ask ourselves is: are we making progress in the right direction?
Genuine fur is taken from and made with pelt from a real live animal, sure… but the unfortunate reality is: In order to preserve the carcass / fur, maintain their luxurious look and feel, and prevent them from biodegrading, genuine fur needs to be heavily treated with chemicals that are harmful to the environment. All things considered, the ‘natural’ aspect of genuine fur products are actually far from natural once you realize just how much toxic chemicals are used to treat products made with real fur. Not to mention, farming a zillion animals in cages creates a tremendous amount of toxic waste by-products which also have an insanely negative impact on the world we live in.
As for fake fur? Well, the most common argument against faux fur claims that, because it’s made of plastics, it contributes to the issue of microplastics being washed into the ocean. Technically, this argument is inaccurate and here’s why: Roughly 65% of ALL clothing (underwear, shorts, shirts, sweaters, etc.) are made of some type of plastic—most of which are machine washable. Interestingly enough, it is the process of regularly machine washing these garments that actually releases tons of microplastics into the ocean and ultimately harm the environment. Faux fur on the other hand is NOT regularly washed and on top of that, it is usually NOT machine washable (washing by hand drastically reduces the chance of fibers shedding). No one throws their coat in the washer once a week… they’re just not designed for that and generally do not get as dirty from sweat and body oils to warrant a weekly washing like regular T-shirts do. Coats are usually washed just a few times per year (at most!) and that’s IF you wear it a lot or bring it with you camping or to a festival or something. So, before you start giving your favorite faux fur the side eye for supposedly releasing microplastics into the ocean, just realize who the real perpetrator is: your washing machine. Thankfully, there is a solution for this issue of machine washing garments: Order yourself a Guppy Wash Bag! This innovative wash bag helps prevent any microplastic fibers from making it past your washing machine and into the ocean. Use it for any clothes made with plastic fibers like polyester or even for faux fur coats (assuming your faux fur coat is machine washable—which most are not). And voila! Just like that, your environmental impact has been reduced. Next question please…
Before we answer this question, let’s take a look at the quality aspects. First up? Longevity. How long a product is going to last is definitely important when you are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a fur coat. Ironically, faux fur should last longer than genuine fur because it’s synthetic and won’t easily decay like organic mass (aka real animal pelt / carcass).
Big ticket items (like fur coats) are not meant to be overly consumed and tossed in the garbage a la fast fashion. It’s a carefully selected fashion accessory that's meant to last you a loooooong time. The second attribute to consider is the product’s look and feel. With so many technological advancements in faux fur manufacturing, it has become increasingly difficult to spot the difference between fake fur and real fur. You can now find the softest, most luxurious faux fur coats to rival any genuine fur garment—usually at a fraction of the cost and without a soul harmed. Get the look without the cruelty!
Lastly, we must consider the direction we’re heading in. Are we making logical moves towards sustainability or are we not making any progress at all? Animal cruelty, the use of toxic chemicals, and harvesting animals for their fur will never be humane, eco-friendly, or ethical. Honestly, it’s archaic. But, the truth is, to be in harmony with our environment, we simply can’t keep making endless amounts of products that are not derived from sustainable sources. With technology where it is today, the industry is ripe for change and we strongly believe it will happen! The same way the combustible engines paved the way for electric vehicles and other carbon-neutral advancements (e.g. nitrogen powered cars, solar powered cars, etc.), faux fur is laying the groundwork for animal-friendly solutions. It isn’t purrrfect, but we’re definitely heading in the right direction. It won’t be long until we’re able to create products that are completely biodegradable and earth friendly. In fact, our vendor partners at SpiritHoods have dumped millions of dollars into the research and development of sustainable faux furs. While it’s still an ongoing process, we anticipate having more sustainable fur products within the next few years. None of this would be possible without the support of the faux fur industry and animal activists everywhere. So, vote with your dollars! Support brands that are doing the right thing and on the right path.
Hopefully we’ve convinced you to go #FurFree. It’s not only a better quality, longer lasting product; it’s also leading us down a path towards sustainability. If you want to better understand everything to look out for when purchasing a fur coat (think style, fur length, colors, etc.) be on the lookout for our upcoming blog article: FAUX FUR COATS - WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
Finally, we want to share some of the top-rated brands making faux fur coats today! There are two lists to check out: First up are the best brands wholly dedicated to faux fur fashion. The second list features all the iconic fashion houses that have made the transition from genuine fur to faux fur. Enjoy!!
LIST OF BEST BRANDS DEDICATED TO FAUX FUR FASHION:
House Of Fluff - House of Fluffs outerwear is crafted from earth-friendly materials that still feel and look luxurious. Their coats and jackets range from $450-$1,300.
House of Dagmar - Founded by three sisters, this Swedish brand creates ‘animal friendly fur’ by using a gentle trimming technique to shave animals like angora goats and alpaca without harming them. Prices start at $1,500 and go up from there.
Miranda Dunn - Each piece is fully customizable: colors, length, and size. Prices start at $550 and go up from there.
Shrimps - This British label by Hannah Welland offers eye-catching faux fur outerwear starting around $700.
Maison Atia - Traditional fur heritage techniques masterfully applied to faux fur. Prices start around $1,000.
Faz Not Fur - Quality craftsmanship from a small Parisian atelier. Prices start around $600 and go up from there.
a.w.a.k.e. mode - They have some unique vegan patent leather coats with plush fur starting at around $1,400.
Stella McCartney - Stella McCartney has been at the forefront of faux fur fashion since 2001. Prices starting around $700.
LIST OF ICONIC FASHION HOUSES THAT SWITCHED FROM GENUINE FUR TO FAUX FUR:
1. Calvin Klein
Gotta give it up for Calvin Klein. They’ve been a fur-free advocate since 1994! According to Mr. Klein, “my own reflections on the humane treatment of animals and the fur segment of our business simply did not fit with our corporate philosophy any longer.” Love to see it! Bravo for taking a stand against animal cruelty!
“Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposition that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals,” said Armani. My man! *high 5*
In 2016, Stella, who was raised vegetarian, stated, “I think that the fashion industry can get away with a lot and it is getting away with murder. Fur is the most unnecessary thing in the world. Those animals are not eaten, if they try to pretend that the fur industry products are by-products they are not. Those animals are bred to be turned into coats.”A heartbreaking reality, but we’re happy you’re on team faux fur, Stella! <3
4. Michael Kors
As the designer explained, “Due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur.” Get the look without the cruelty!
5. Ralph Lauren
“Fur has never been an integral part of our design strategy as we had only used it on a limited basis as an accent in some collections. We are publicly announcing this decision because the use of fur has been under review internally and we feel that the time is right to take this action,” said a spokesperson for Polo Ralph Lauren. Heck yeah, Ralph! That’s what we’re talking about! :)
Pamela Anderson was quoted by PETA saying, “Since Tommy mostly used fur on collars and cuffs, his decision to go fur-free really puts the spotlight on fur trim, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. People who think ‘it’s just a little fur trim’ need to know that animals suffer tremendously for every piece of fur, and it’s unacceptable to wear any of it. Thanks, Tommy, for sticking up for the animals!”
7. Kate Spade
Kate was a strong supporter of animal rights who was loved by many, including the good folks at PETA who had this to say about the late great designer, “Kate Spade went fur-free decades ago and just recently banned angora wool after seeing PETA’s exposé of cruelty to rabbits. Her designs featured ever-more chic bags made with straw, cork, and other sustainable vegan materials.” Thank you for paving the way and helping this new generation of designers understand that real fur has no place in modern day fashion! <3
8. Hugo Boss
A spokesman of the German luxury fashion house said, “For many years Hugo Boss has continuously decreased the use of fur and subsequently, only a very small share was left in the last collections. The last rabbit fur used was for select pieces only (trims on hoods and on sleeves for example), which we have now completely dropped.”
“Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” Donatella Versace told Luke Leitch in an interview for The Economist’s 1843magazine.
Alberto Camerlengo, CEO of the Furla Group, said, “The decision to progressively ban the use of animal fur from the collections is a project that confirms the brand’s growing interest in the environment, with a special attention to animals, a sensitive theme for Furla… Moreover, this decision responds to an increasing demand of ethical products from a consumer who is increasingly aware and attentive to these issues.” Just goes to show—voting with your dollars WORKS! Support brands that align with your beliefs and it will make a difference!
Back in 2014, the company stated, “[W]e can confirm that Lacoste has no plan to use angora fibers in its coming collections.” A brilliant step in the right direction!
“Technology is now available that means you don’t need to use fur. The alternatives are luxurious. There is just no need,” said Gucci CEO, Marco Bizzarri. Uhh, hell yeah, Gucci gang!
13. The Kooples
Nicolas Dreyfus, The Kooples Executive Director, said, "We are extremely concerned by animal suffering and … we've made the decision to stop the use of all fur in any future collections… We had already made the choice to stop the use of angora in all our collections and in all countries, which was thanks to PETA's courage and wisdom in helping us understand the cruel treatment inflicted on animals of which we were not aware." Knowledge is power, and we’re so grateful The Kooples brand was receptive to the heartbreaking realities PETA shared with them.
14. Tom Ford
“I’ve been vegan for about the last year… When you look at how most of our meat, our animal products, are raised, from a health standpoint, I didn’t feel that I should eat those things anymore,” said Ford after watching the film What the Health.
Dame Vivienne Westwood decided to join the growing list of designers going fur-free in 2007 after meeting with members of PETA Europe and learning about the suffering of animals raised and trapped for fur. Westwood’s very last fur products were eight rabbit-fur handbags which were given to PETA Europe to be donated to a wildlife sanctuary. Apparently, the bags were then used to comfort orphaned baby animals. That’s amazing!! :)
“The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement,” said Miuccia Prada. “Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products.” Much love to Prada for being receptive to customer demands! VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS! <3
17. Maison Margiela
In 2018, John Galliano, Maison Margiela’s Creative Director, said, “[The real luxury today] is authenticity and inventiveness… You can be outrageous and fun without fur! Come and party with us, you’ll see!” See, John gets it! Now we’re just waiting on that party invite... ;)
Morris Goldfarb, CEO of DKNY’s parent company, G-III, said, “As we move forward with both Donna Karan and DKNY, we have decided to become fur-free with both brands beginning in fall 2019… This move follows a long-standing relationship with The Humane Society of the United States.”
"The decision to go fur-free is a truly meaningful milestone for the brand,” Joshua Schulman, president and CEO of Coach said in a statement in 2018, noting that the move was in line with corporate responsibility markers Coach established three years prior.
-Latif Hamilton, SpiritHoods Founding Partner & CEO
Ready to do a little animal activism?