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WHAT IS FAUX FUR (AKA FAKE FUR)?

September 22, 2021

WHAT IS FAUX FUR (AKA FAKE FUR)?

For starters, it’s pronounced “Fo Fur” (not “fox fur” ya silly beans!) — but more on that a little later… To really explain what this magical “faux fur” fabric is and how it came to be (and no it didn’t come from unicorn snot or by shaving care bears), we need to take a look at both the genuine fur and faux fur (aka fake fur) industries’ long and storied history. So let’s take a dive way back to a time when your dear old Gramps was a spritely teen... the 1920s.  Believe it or not, back in the 20s, fake fur had a reputation for being poor quality and generally unappealing to wear. At the time, faux furs were actually made using shaved hair from South American Alpacas (synthetic fibers hadn’t even come into the picture yet), which were a much more affordable option compared to its genuine fur counterpart. While the newly introduced imitation furs were relatively effective at keeping you warm, they were often shunned by the fashion community for their rather bland appearance.

A few decades later in the mid-1950s the faux fur industry finally made the switch from using Alpaca fur to fake furs made from synthetic polymers that actually looked and felt like the real thing. This ended up being a GAME CHANGER for the fake fur industry and a HUGE WIN for animal lovers everywhere! The drastic improvement in the quality of fake fur meant that more people (even those who aren’t necessarily animal activists) would be enticed to purchase fake fur instead of genuine fur because of the quality, rich colors, texture options, affordable pricing, and of course, the ability to save thousands of animals from being trapped and murdered for their fur. Today, some of the softest, most luxurious furs on the market are no longer made with genuine fur (yuck!)—they’re now made with faux fur! (yay!!)

Since 2009, SpiritHoods has committed to donating 10% of net profits back to saving endangered animals and have been pushing for a #FurFree world ever since (see our entire fur-free collection of animal-inspired products). While we keep fighting the good fight (and we always will!), it’s good to know that there are other well-established brands out there like Chanel, Gucci, and Valentino who have joined the fight against animal cruelty and have committed to going fur free over the next few years! *cue standing ovation!*  

So what exactly is faux fur?

Faux Fur

/fō fur/ pronounced “Fo Fur”

Noun

Made in imitation; artificial. Artificial fur; fake. Not real. 

Simply put, faux fur gets you the look and feel of genuine fur—just without the animal cruelty. Maybe you’re wondering how artificial fur is made? Well, it usually starts with the process of manufacturing synthetic fibers like polyester, acrylic, or a blend of natural and manmade fibers that are then sewn onto a polyester backing or netting. The production of these synthetic fibers is probably one of, if not, the most important step in the creation of faux fur products. The quality of the fibers created at this step will determine just how nice the fake fur will look and feel. This applies to all kinds of faux fur products ranging from apparel to throws. Basically, the better quality these synthetic fibers are, the better quality the end product will be. If the synthetic fibers aren’t up to par... Guess what? The end product won’t be either. Sorry.

How do you gauge the quality of fake furs?

When trying to determine the quality of faux furs, there are really just three things to take into consideration: Softness, Resilience (how well fibers bounce back to their original form after being compressed), and Shedding. Generally speaking, these three characteristics are what determine the overall quality of any fake fur product. 

There are also different weights and pile lengths (aka the length of the fur) to consider when shopping for faux furs. (FYI: Weight and pile length are more personal preference than they are a measure of quality.) For example, some coats feature longer, more ‘shagadelic’ looking furs while others may keep things short and sleek. Here’s an example of two coats with different pile lengths (long-pile faux fur vs. short-pile faux fur) that we offer at SpiritHoods:

Grey Wolf Faux Fur Coat (Long-Pile) vs. Black Panther Faux Fur Coat (Short-Pile)

The weight of the fur comes into play when considering just how thick and luxurious you want a coat, throw, or other faux fur product to be. While weight can be telling of just how thick a faux fur garment may be, it does not account for how soft it really is. Remember, not all fake fur products are meant to be extremely thick or heavy in weight and density. This is really a personal preference and there are many who prefer lightweight faux furs. SpiritHoods offers a variety of both thicker faux fur products (look for our “Tissavel +” products) and lighter weight faux fur products made with high-quality fabrics that give our garments a beautiful look, hand feel, and longer life span. 

Examples below:

(L) Butterfly Faux Fur Bomber • Sea Alpaca Faux Fur Bomber (R)

In order to create high-quality faux fur products, you must have high-quality fibers. Simple as that. At SpiritHoods, we start by seeking out the highest-grade fibers available and then design our range of products from there to ensure that everything we create (from Home Goods to headwear and apparel) feels great, looks amazing, and lasts you a really long time. Plus, we only partner with ethical, certified fabric houses, so you can rest assured our furs are indeed 100% fake fur. (There have been instances in the past where brands thought they were using 100% fake fur, but the fibers actually contained a mix of synthetic fibers and animal products. SMH.) Thankfully, the faux furs we use at SpiritHoods are hypoallergenic andOeko Tex Certified(aka regulated to be free from harmful chemicals)—something not just any brand can brag about. For those of you looking for the crème de la crème of faux furs, our premium line of Tissavel products should be at the top of your list.

What is Tissavel?

There are plenty of faux fur manufacturers out there, but only two are renowned for producing the finest high-end luxury faux furs on Earth: a France-based brand known as Tissavel and a New York-based brand called Tiger J. Tissavel has been SpiritHoods’ premium fake fur manufacturer of choice since 2015 and is featured in our higher end product lines for both apparel and homegoods. The Tissavel brand has been manufacturing faux furs since the 1950s and even supplies brands like Chanel and Prada with custom-made fake furs. In our eyes, they manufacture one of, if not, the most premium grade fur in the world.

Check out some of the products we’ve made using premium Tissavel furs:

See more from our premium Tissavel line.

Creating colorful furs

The beautiful thing about faux fur is that it can be produced in a wide variety of colorways. Seriously, the color combinations are virtually endless! Now, there is quite a bit of skill and technique required to achieve the right color blend and color fastness (aka preventing fading) over time. This can be done a number of different ways and every faux fur manufacturer will have their own way of doing things. This is because different manufacturers will have a different niche or expertise with certain types of fabrication. For example, one manufacturer may have the equipment and experience necessary to produce high-quality tie dye furs, while another fabric mill may be better suited to overlay printing, and a third manufacturer may specialize at jacquard fabrication (aka some of our animal prints and color blocking). It has taken us over a decade to find the right facilities to partner with so that we can continue creating the most versatile and colorful experience for you!

Realistic fur textures

In addition to colors, there is an assortment of textures to choose from. Remember, realism is one of our goals as we try to rid the world of real fur by offering a high-quality alternative that even die-hard genuine fur lovers would love to own! Animals are EVERYTHING to us here at SpiritHoods… so you will often see fur textures that look and feel like the real thing, but rest assured, NO ANIMALS ARE EVER HARMED in the making of our products and ALL of our products are 100% FAKE FUR. SpiritHoods was even awarded PETA’s Libby Award for Best Cruelty-Free Accessory two years in a row!

Fake fur is purrrfect for apparel, accessories, and home goods. Its inherent durability and thickness offer softness, warmth and protection from all kinds of cold-weather conditions. It’s also an incredible way to express yourself out in the urban jungle! In terms of home decor, faux fur can be a creative (and cozy!) way to stylize your living spaces. Best of all, there are a wide variety of textures and colors to match any aesthetic you have in mind.

The future of faux fur

Beyond animal welfare, we understand we have a responsibility to not only produce cruelty-free products, but create ones that promote sustainability and global economic wellness. Our commitment to make products that are socially and ecologically responsible is more important now than ever be-faux. 

We started by meticulously minimizing wastage in everything we produce. Then we took it a step further and started utilizing scrap fabrics for our “Throws for the Homeless” project, where we donate hundreds of throws in downtown Los Angeles during winter to help keep the homeless community warm during their difficult times. Today, we’ve begun digging our claws into the research and development of natural-fiber imitation furs to further minimize our economic footprint, and create a faux fur garment that is truly sustainable for both the animal kingdom and the planet. We’re currently experimenting with several manufacturing partners to explore new ways of creating hyper-realistic, fashionable, and high quality natural-fiber and mixed-fiber fake fur products. We can’t take all the credit though. We are very thankful for our suppliers and partners who have supported our efforts and poured millions of dollars into the R&D of natural-fiber fake furs. We anticipate these developments becoming reality in upcoming years and will keep you updated on the progress! We’ve got plenty of exciting things on the horizon, but bear with us — groundbreaking research & development does take time.

To check out or chat more about faux fur coats, apparel, or homegoods head over to the SpiritHoods webstore, contact one of our friendly customer service representatives at help@spirithoods.com, or follow us on social media and join the pack!

Like SpiritHoods on Facebook

Follow @SpiritHoods on Instagram

Follow @SpiritHoods on TikTok

Follow @SpiritHoods on Twitter

Follow @SpiritHoods on Pinterest

 

-Latif Hamilton, SpiritHoods Founding Partner & CEO

 

Now that you've got the rundown on faux fur, check out some of our Best Selling faux fur creations:

 



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