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Is Fake Fur Really That Eco-Friendly?

 July 25, 2014  /  Comments Off on Is Fake Fur Really That Eco-Friendly?

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Consumers have a variety of reasons for choosing products make of faux fur over the real thing. Fake fur is easier to clean, is more affordable, comes in a wide variety of color and texture options, is animal-cruelty free and is better for the environment. Or is it?

While there is no doubt that faux fur does not harm animals, the other claims of being eco-friendly can be disputed.

Is Fake Fur Really That Eco-Friendly

Wash-n-Wear

Faux fur is definitely easier to clean and care for than real fur. Real fur must be cleaned by a specialist and often requires being kept in a special cold-storage facility when not in use. Faux fur, in contrast, can usually be washed in the washing machine with regular detergent and then air dried. Of course, washing machines require energy to run and detergents have a well-documented negative impact on the environment.

Petroleum Derived

The largest debate in whether faux fur is more eco-friendly than real fur is in the manufacturing processes. Numerous chemicals are used when creating the synthetic fabrics used in faux fur. The fabrics can consist of acrylic, modacrylic polymers, nylon and polyester. The fabric created is petroleum-based with an estimated one gallon of oil used for every three jackets assembled. These faux fur fabrics are also derived from coal and limestone using massive resources to mine, process and refine them.

None of these materials are bio-degradable. They are basically forms of plastics. A discarded faux fur jacket will languish in a land fill for hundreds to thousands of years. Check out http://urbantimes.co/2013/11/real-fur-or-faux-fur-which-one-is-more-environmentally-friendly/ for more information.

Animals are Natural

The flip side argues that products made from real fur are eco-friendly. Animals are, by their nature, bio-degradable and a renewable resource. Proponents argue that harvesting pelts is a way of life and survival for many indigenous people groups allowing them to support their families as well as earn a fair-trade income.

And there are several instances where pelts are sought as a way to eradicate non-native species that are damaging native inhabitants. Possums in New Zealand have devastated natural bird populations, bringing several species to the brink of extinction. Possum pelts and those of other non-native, weasel type creatures are actively marketed.

And Louisiana is aggressively hunting the nutria, an invasive, aquatic rat-like creature that is destroying native populations. Cowboy boots made from nutria, anyone?

Eluxe magazine offers an well-written article exploring many of the issues at http://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/real-fur-or-faux-which-is-greener.

Beyond the Green

But for many consumers, the fact that faux fur products are not derived from animals is reason enough to choose them over the real thing. And indeed, fake fur does have many advantages. Shoppers can often find many of the same qualities of real fur in fake fur offerings.

Retailers offer a variety of options from the trim on hoods to full faux fur hats, jackets, boots and coats. Items for the home have also seen a huge surge in popularity. Throws, blankets and decorative pillows come in an astonishing variety of colors, options and quality.

How to Spot Cheap Products:

  • Touch the fabric.

High quality material will feel silky soft to the touch whereas cheap fabrics can be scratchy, stiff and even sticky, particularly in high humidity.

  • Feel the thickness of the “Fur.”

The higher the standards, the thicker the fur will be. Longer threads and dense weaving produce a fabric that is soft, sumptuous and luxurious. Conversely, cheap weaving can produce a threadbare appearance and feel.

  • Check out the backing.

The quality of the backing is just as important as the faux fur itself. Even if the fabric is nice, if the backing is cheap, the garment can fall apart after a single wash.

  • Examine the stitching.

Durable stitching with a high-quality thread is a must. After all, jackets are meant to be worn and blankets are meant to be snuggled. The stitching holds an item together. Check for finished seams, overlapping edges and clean lines.

Renee Berge of PoshPelts.com has done extensive consumer research and works diligently to create luxurious products for the home using the highest quality faux fur fabrics available.

The debate will continue on whether faux fur is eco-friendly or not. But if the primary concern is kindness to animals, then faux fur is most definitely the right option. Whether a leopard print pillow is desired to enhance the luxe look of a boudoir or a chinchilla-soft throw to cuddle a newborn infant, faux fur is an excellent option. And consumers can rest easy knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of their exquisite faux fur luxuries.

Sarah Brighton is an animal lover, but also loves high fashion. She is eco-friendly and wanted to know if faux fur was truly eco-friendly.

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  • Published: 3 years ago on July 25, 2014
  • Last Modified: July 25, 2014 @ 6:34 am
  • Filed Under: Family & Personal

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