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To Fur or to Faux, yes that old debate again!



{mosimage}Whether it’s ladylike, boho chic or the Marc Jacobs thrift look, there’s no getting away from fur this season. Fur is everywhere, both on the catwalk and the high street. A quick scan around the capital will tell you all you need to know; when the temperature drops girls love to wrap up in some cosy fluff. From trims, to gilets, to stoles, to full-length coats, fur is doing particularly well and spanning several consumer markets.


For the most part, fur seen on the high street tends to be fake. The last thing retailers want is a load of protestors outside their premises harassing customers. Besides many of the fakes on the market look just as good as the real thing, I have witnessed shoppers in Reiss check out the inside tag of a fur stole to confirm whether the piece was real or fake. It was indeed fake, and very effective in both look and feel.{mosimage}


Meanwhile, real fur sales have recovered from their mid-90s slump. According to the British Fur Trade Association, sales of real furs last year increased by 35%. This is largely attributed to the use of fur by many top fashion designers and young trendy celebs snapped out and about wearing the stuff. Despite the positive increase the fur industry has got on the ethical band-wagon by stating that fake fur is bad for the environment.


Furriers claim that the manufacture of nylon and polyester fakes involves chemicals that pollute the environment along with the health of the factory workers in close contact with them.


Ethical Consumer magazine says that the production of nylon creates more than 50% of UK emissions of the poisonous greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and that polyester, made from petrochemicals, depletes limited oil resources.


{mosimage}America’s Fur Commission adds that it takes one gallon of oil to make three fake fur jackets, with the non-biodegradability of synthetics adding further fuel to the fire.


Peta, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have responded to the claims with their own findings. While real fur may certainly have a presence on the international catwalks, figures from the Office for National Statistics show a dramatic drop in sales from the year 2000 to 2003. And that’s not all; environmentally unfriendly chemicals are also used in real fur production to prevent rotting, which in turn makes it no more biodegradable than its fake imitators. {mosimage}


With such heated facts being thrown about it’s surprising that we buy into fur at all, fake or real. The reality is that these environmental issues can be found in the production of many other textiles from cotton to viscose. At the end of the day it’s all about choice – and right now the majority choose to fake it.


By JoJo Iles 






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