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WHAT IS FAUX FUR (AKA FAKE FUR)?

November 20, 2023

woman wearing faux fur coat

Jump To: History of Faux Fur | What is Faux Fur | The Future of Faux Fur

  

It’s gettin’ chilly again and there’s no better way to show off your sexy strut than in a fab faux fur coat or fake fur accessory, right? When celebs like Jared Leto, repeatedly voted sexiest man, are snuggled up in Husky spirit, you know you’ve gotta have one, too!

So, what’s all the fuss over fake fur fashion? We’re about to fill you in on the never-ending trend and why it’s time to wrap that bod in a SpiritHood and party with the pack.

What is Faux Fur?

/fō fur/ pronounced “Fo Fur”

Noun

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

For starters, let’s clear one thing up that drives us crazy! It’s pronounced “fo fur,” not “fox fur,” ya silly beans!

To really understand what this magical faux fur fabric is and how it came to be, we need to take a look at both the genuine fur and faux fur (aka fake fur) industries’ long and storied history. And no, it didn’t come from unicorn snot or by shaving care bears.

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.

SpiritHoods

A Brief History of Fake Fur

So, let’s take a deep dive way back to a time when your dear old gramps was a spritely teen—the 1920's.  Believe it or not, back in the '20s, fake fur had a reputation for being poor quality. I mean, it was generally unappealing, and many wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it.

At the time, synthetic fibers hadn’t even come into the picture yet, so faux furs were actually made using shaved hair from South American Alpacas. Alpacas were a much more affordable option compared to its genuine fur counterpart. While the newly introduced imitation furs were relatively effective at keeping one warm, fake fur was often shunned by the fashion community for their rather bland appearance and tiny price tag.

During World War II, there was an actual shortage of real furs due to importing and exporting issues. At the time, all efforts went into the war. That meant that anything considered "extra" or "luxury" like real fur, were not a priority. Labor and manufacturers needed to focus on essentials for the war, like uniforms, equipment, weapons and wartime materials. It was during this time, that there was also a drastic shift in fashion trends. People were being influenced by economic restraints and the practicality of war. All this led to more humble choices, abandoning the extravagance of real fur. Manufacturers began experimenting with new materials and fabrics, and the development of faux fur took a remarkable step forward. 

And by the mid-20th century, faux fur was being used more often by designers due to its affordability. Societal attitudes around animal welfare and sustainability in the fashion world started shifting and people were waking up and becoming more ethically minded. And soon enough, faux fur had become a popular choice for those wanting a bit of luxury without animal cruelty and the hefty price tag. 

A few decades later, in the mid-1950s, the faux fur industry took another major step forward in the development of fake furs made from synthetic polymers. This new material gave fake fur a much-needed facelift. Surprisingly, it actually looked and felt like the real thing. Seriously…have you ever reached out to pet one of these things?

The development of high-quality synthetic fur was a GAME CHANGER for the fake fur industry. Not to mention, it was a HUGE WIN for animal lovers everywhere! The drastic improvement in the quality of fake fur meant that more people, even those who weren’t necessarily animal activists, would be enticed to purchase fake fur over genuine fur, for several reasons. 

Fur lovers turned to fake fur options for many reasons, including:

  • The new and improved quality
  • Rich colors
  • Puuurrrfectly pet-worthy texture options
  • Affordable pricing
  • The ability to save millions of animals from being trapped and murdered for their fur

Fake Fur Fashion Today

Today, some of the softest, most luxurious furs on the market are no longer made with genuine fur. In fact, since January of 2023, it has become illegal in many cities to sell real fur. And many leading fashion houses have banned the use of real fur in their collections. Instead, they are now using faux fur. A decision that leaves the wearer feeling great about their choice and keeps a lot more moolah in their pockets to splurge on fabulous accessories for their foxy faux fur. Yay!

So, What Exactly Is Faux Fur?

Simply put, faux fur gives you the look and feel of genuine fur—just without the animal cruelty.

Maybe you’re wondering how artificial fur can possibly be made to feel as satisfying as the real thing. Well, it usually starts with the process of manufacturing synthetic fibers. 

Synthetic fibers used in creating faux fur include:

  • polyester
  • acrylic
  • modacrylic
  • a blend of natural and manmade fibers 

These synthetics 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 luxurious the fake fur will look and feel.

This carefully crafted process applies to all kinds of faux fur products ranging from apparel to throws. Basically, the higher the quality of these synthetic fibers, 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. 

How Do You Gauge the Quality Of Fake Furs?

As you shop for your warm winter faux fur coat, quality should be at the top of your list. When trying to determine the quality of faux furs, there are just three things to take into consideration. Generally speaking, these three characteristics are what determine the overall quality of any fake fur product.

Considerations of quality fake fur means determining:

  • softness
  • resilience
  • shedding

Softness

Does the faux fur replicate the oh-so-soft feel of real fur? Is it fluffy or course to the touch? It should be a fine, supple texture and make you want to cuddle up with it and snooze.

Resilience

How well do the synthetic fibers bounce back to their original form? Try working your fingers through the fake fur. Manipulate it a bit and pay attention to how it bounces back to its original form and placement after being compressed. It should never just lie there like roadkill, after all. 

Shedding

Yep! Your faux baby can shed just like Fido. You don’t want your cuddly faux fur wolf coat or SpiritHood to drop fur sprinkles everywhere you go, do you? You may end up compared to the house cat that won’t stop shedding on the furniture! Your fake fur shouldn’t fall away easily when you spot clean, brush, or simply venture out into the windy night air.

Comparing Weights and Pile Lengths of Your Faux Fur

There are also various weights and pile lengths (aka the length of the fake fur) to consider when shopping for faux furs. FYI: Weight and pile length will always come down to a personal preference, but it’s always great to know their effects on the quality of your sexy fur wear.  

Pile Length

You’re sure to come across fake fur coats featuring longer, more ‘shagadelic’ looking furs that catch your eye. On the other hand, you may fancy keeping your items short, sleek, and sassy. Take time to admire the various looks of the furs and their different pile lengths. Take a look at our favorite eye-candy to help you compare long-pilefaux fur vs. short-pilefaux fur. 

Weight

The weight of your fake fur comes into play when considering just how thick and luxurious you want your 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 fact, there are many who prefer lightweight faux furs. Weight is truly a personal preference, which is why SpiritHoods offers a variety of both thicker faux fur products, like our TISSAVEL products, and lighter weight faux fur products made with high-quality fabrics that give our garments a beautiful look, feel, and longer life span. 

The Importance of High-Quality Fiber

Creating high-quality faux fur products requires high-quality fibers. It’s as simple as that. At SpiritHoods, we start by seeking out the highest-grade fibers available. From there, we begin the design process on our wide range of products. We ensure that everything we create, from Home Goods to headwear to apparel feels great, looks amazing, and is made to last. 

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! We only partner with ethical, certified fabric houses, so you can rest assured our furs are indeed 100% fake fur. 

Thankfully, the faux furs we use at SpiritHoods are hypoallergenic and Oeko 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 French-based brand known as Tissavel and the New York-based brand Tiger J. 

Tissavel has been SpiritHoods’ premium fake fur manufacturer of choice since 2015. It is featured in our higher end product lines for both apparel and homegoods. The 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 faux fur in the world.

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). This can be done several different ways and every faux fur manufacturer has their preferred method. 

Manufacturers have various areas of expertise with specific 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. Others are experts at jacquard fabrication, providing high-end animal prints and color blocking styles. It has taken us over a decade to find the ideal facilities to partner with so that we can continue creating the most versatile, colorful, and high-quality experience for you!

Realistic fur textures

In addition to colors, there are an assortment of textures to choose from. Remember, realism is one of our biggest goals. We try to rid the world of real fur by offering a high-quality alternative 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 our products are 100% FAKE FUR. In fact we proudly donate 10% of net profits to the conservation of endangered animals and their habitats. AND SpiritHoods was even awarded PETA’s Libby Award for Best Cruelty-Free Accessory three times! Prrrrriceless! 

The future of faux fur

Beyond animal welfare, we understand we have a responsibility to not only produce cruelty-free products but create items 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. (Did you like that one?)

We started by meticulously minimizing waste in everything we produce. Then we took it a step further and started utilizing scrap fabrics for our “Throws for the Homeless” project. We donate hundreds of throws in downtown Los Angeles during winter to help keep the homeless community warm during difficult times. 

We’ve also begun digging our claws into the research and development of natural-fiber imitation furs to further minimize our economic footprint. We strive to create a faux fur garment that is truly sustainable for both the animal kingdom and the planet. Sexy, we know!

We’re currently experimenting with several manufacturing partners to explore new ways of creating hyper-realistic, fashionable, and high quality natural-fiber, including 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. #PackTeamwork 

We’ve got plenty of exciting things on the horizon but bear with us — groundbreaking research and development does take time. We anticipate these developments becoming reality in upcoming years and will keep you updated on the progress! 

SpiritHood’s Commitment to Our Fur Friends

Since 2009, SpiritHoods has been committed to donating 10% of net profits back to saving endangered animals and have been pushing for a #FurFree world ever since.  Our entire fur-free collection of animal-inspired products embraces a love for animals, fashion forward puuurrrfection, and affordable prices.

While we keep fighting the good fight (and we always will), it’s good to know we aren’t alone. There are other well-established brands out there like Chanel, Gucci, and Valentino, who have joined the fight against animal cruelty. Together, they have all made the commitment to go fur-free over the next few years! *cue standing ovation!*  

Grab your favorite faux fur item today and join our badass pack!

-Latif Hamilton, SpiritHoods Founding Partner & CEO

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