With the fashion industry as a whole acknowledging animal cruelty is not a good look on anyone, the fur industry, fearful of going extinct, has ramped up its propaganda.
The furriers are hell-bent on making faux fur the villain to distract from the violence towards animals and the harm to the environment that is at the core of the fur industry.
For instance, the International Fur Federation took out a billboard in Times Square with the message “Fake fur kills fish,” an effort to sway the public into believing all faux fur is full of toxic petrochemicals that cannot biodegrade and that shed plastic microfibers, which end up in drinking water and oceans. The fur industry timed it perfectly as people are ditching things like plastic straws and single-use plastics in an effort to save the oceans. Meanwhile, discarded fishing gear is the most detrimental to oceans, not faux fur.
While less expensive fast fashion, including cheap faux fur, may lack eco-credentials, today’s luxury faux fur houses are making huge efforts to be eco-friendly. Innovation is the new luxury, which is good news for animals and the planet.
For example, NYC-based House of Fluff uses recycled polyester fiber to make its coats. Products are lined in natural fabrics like cotton jersey and combined with French terry so they feel as soft and comfy on the inside as they do on the outside.
No single use plastics are used anywhere in the company. And all scraps are upcycled into coats for dogs as well as little plush collectibles called “scrappies.” Scrappies’ playful faces are also put on scarves and hoodies.
House of Fluff is also working with scientists at Cradle to Cradle to make a bio-based faux fur textile, that CEO/Creative Director Kym Canter hopes to bring to market in 2020. Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum-derived products.
And in September the brand will launch a style that looks and feels like fleece but that’s made from Ecopel, a textile made 100 percent from recycled ocean plastics.
Fur production is not environmentally sound
The fur industry likes to ignore studies that have found real fur to be the most harmful of all fabrics. The impact of mink fur production was compared with common textiles such as polyester, wool and cotton, on 18 different issues such as climate change, eutrophication and toxic emissions by research organization CE Delft. For 17 of the 18 issues, real fur was found to be significantly more harmful than other types of fabric in part because of chemicals used to prevent the skins from decomposing and decomposing of mink feces.
While the real fur industry continues to do nothing to address its own environmental threat, the Paris-based Faux Fur Institute is even working on transforming faux fur waste into usable fuel and energy. A recent study demonstrated that because synthetics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies to convert these materials into fuels or other products. This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of usable energy that otherwise would be wasted. A new large-scale experiment will be conducted in 2020.