The fur debate has taken centre stage in recent weeks as London Fashion Week became the first major fashion show to go fur-free. Faux fur was given a huge boost as Burberry also decided to drop real fur from their Collections following in the footstep of Gucci, Michael Kors and Tom Ford to name a few. The trailblazers like Stella McCartney have already begun to address issues like sustainability, vegan products and the recycling of textiles, but it feels as though this is just the beginning of a sea change in the way we all make choices.
The pro-fur lobby has reacted to the growing popularity of faux fur by raising their game. They have constructed arguments in support of real fur being more ‘environmentally friendly and biodegradable’. The carefully chosen ‘facts’ lose sight of the processes employed to treat real fur, which is preserved with toxic chemicals including formaldehyde and nonylphenol in order to stop it biodegrading.
The fur lobby is a powerful one and has commissioned reports to show that faux fur is not biodegradable and releases plastics into the environment. FakeFurFacts.com also posted an enormous poster in Times Square New York.
This manipulation of information about ecology can lead to confusion.
The argument should not just centre around real fur versus fake fur when there are so many more considerations to take into account. We are all facing the environmental fallout from fast fashion.
The debate concerns every type of fashion wear from clothing to shoes. What about acrylic? polyester? trainers? Lycra fitness- wear? One of the main environmental impacts occurs through washing, so sportswear that is washed time and time again is bound to have more impact on the environment than a faux fur jacket which might be cleaned once a year and is designed to last.
We cannot all wear completely natural fibres like cotton because of the high costs in cotton production – huge volumes of water are needed to grow the cotton plants. Wool as a natural fibre also has it’s limitations and is dependent on a good supply of pasture for sheep and careful animal husbandry. There simply wouldn’t be enough natural fibres to clothe the world’s population, so we are going to have to use man-made fibres in some form.
It is more important to ask the question – is it sustainable? New advances in the recycling of textiles are so exciting at the moment. Entrepreneurs have been supported by large fashion groups such as H&M who have awarded prizes and more importantly, funding to the development of new solutions for recycling and sustainability.
What does it mean for the fashion world? The term Slow Fashion has come to be synonymous with careful buying, longevity and ultimately recycling. We are encouraged to wash our clothes less to avoid the enormous problems of polluted wastewater in the environment and the leaching of plastics into the soil.
Recycling plastics in clothing is so important for the future. ECOPEL faux fur has developed a fabric that is made from recycled plastics.
We all need to change the way we buy and shop – perhaps buy something that is better quality and will last longer? or buy something that can be recycled or just buy less? Some of these issues are raised in the brilliant exhibition at the V&A ‘Fashioned From Nature’ A Free People T shirt in the museum shop says it all…
But first things first…. Although fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2000 it is still perfectly legal to import real fur into Britain. The work of organisations such as PETA and The Humane Society has increased our awareness of animal cruelty. Just look at this anti-fur poster in The V&A – it has been many years since these issues were first raised!
The work of animal rights organisations has also opened our eyes to the possibilities that faux fur has to offer. We feel it is now time to call for a total ban on the sale of fur in the UK.
In June 2018 a committee of MPs responded to the mis-labelling of faux fur by big names in the retail world by calling for a consultation to ban real fur. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) described the labelling of fur products as ‘not fit for purpose’
In spite of these calls for change, the fur industry is still worth millions in the UK economy and the government are yet to bring about any meaningful change in the law.
At Helen Moore we are committed to the use of 100% fake fur which is carefully selected and meets all the requirements of the stringent EU REACH tests. We absolutely guarantee that no animal fur is present in any of our faux fur fabrics and we’re proud to say that we have been approved by PETA as a vegan brand. Our vegan faux fur accessories now come with labelling which informs our customers and also gives advice about cleaning and care of the garments.
Discover British made faux fur products at HelenMoore.com