Lucy Morris | Fashion and Beauty Editor | Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Fake Fur: How Often Does It Contain Real Fur?

Fake Fur: How Shitty Is It For The Environment And How Often Does It Contain Real Fur?

The Debrief: Misssguided has been selling ‘faux’ fur shoes that contain cat and dog hair, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg of imitation fur’s misdeeds

Missguided headlined the fashion press this week, but not for the right reasons. It was revealed by animal rights activists that the high street store was touting real fur as if it was fake. The Humane Society International (HSI) found out that a pair of millennial pink heels topped with furry pompoms contained cat and dog hair. 

The shoes in question go against Missguided’s strict no-fur policy and have been removed from sales. Yet, the revelations continued as laboratory tests revealed that House of Fraser, Amazon and Lily Lulu were also mislabeling their fur products. 

While there is a lasting conception that real fur costs more, it’s relatively cheap to produce in Asia and has unfortunately filtered into the supply chain. The Independent reported that Claire Bass, director of HSI UK, said: ‘In China, millions of cats are being killed for the meat trade and it is possible that the fur of these animals are going into the fur trade’.

Fashion production is a murky world where cheapness and speed of manufacturing is valued. What, this investigation by HSI has done is shine a spotlight on the foggy economics of fake fur production. At one end of the market real fur is staging a comeback on the catwalk and being readily adopted by celebrities (looking at you Khloe Kardashian), but on the other end, faux fur has become covetable. The likes of Shrimps and Stella McCartney have found ways of producing shaggy, sumptuous imitation mammalian products. But, the cost of fur, both real and fake, has untold implications on the planet. 

Most artificial fuzz is the product of acrylic, which is terrible for the environment. A study by the US Sustainable Apparel Coalition ranked it as one of the worst ten fabrics concerning its environmental effects. Yet, we still think that somehow faux fur is more eco-friendly that real. Though the manufacturing of real skins requires the use of toxic products and, obviously, has harmful effects on the world’s animal populations, food chains and ecosystem, there is a strong argument to say synthetics are just as inhumane. The problem is, society is only demonising the real fur producers, but the fake fur manufacturers need to be watchdogged just as much. 

Image credit: shoes by fur-free company Missguided purchased by HSI UK and tested positive for illegal cat fur/ HSI 

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