The Beginning of the End of Fur

Image courtesy of quora.com

Is it safe to say that Generation Z and Millennials are the driving force of the faux fur movement? In the words of American rapper and songwriter Macklemore “I’m gonna pop some tags, [but I] only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” The younger generation does not shy away from seeking cost effective and animal friendly alternatives and the fashion industry is taking note. “Anti-fur messaging is being amplified by social media and a millennial customer base that is paying closer attention to the values represented by the products they buy,reported Business of Fashion. And in this season of luxury gift giving, what are luxury gift givers going to do in this anti-fur environment?

As of 2019, California has officially banned and prohibited the sale, manufacture and production of new fur products. Nevertheless, California isn’t the only one paving the way for an environmental shift; countries such as Serbia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, Germany, and Czech Republic have also banned fur farming. “On October 11, Governor Gavin Newsom approved bill AB44, which makes it illegal to sell, donate, or manufacture new fur products in the state,” detailed The Cut. Don’t worry your granny’s vintage fur is safe as this law solely focuses on the selling. Be sure to take note, as it comes with a hefty fine of $500 for first time offenders and $1,000 for multiple offenses.

Images of imitation furs of Dries Van Noten, Area, and Mary Katrantzou courtesy of vogue.com, respectively

Yet, the real question of the day is why are fashion designers really jumping on the faux fur bandwagon? The $40 billion global fur trade has always held a power position in the luxury industry. With a more forward thinking and modern approach, brands and retailers are redefining luxury and showcasing that real fur is no longer held as a status symbol. “For brands like Gucci, the goodwill generated by banning fur outweighs the sacrifice of a few million dollars in sales of fur-trimmed loaders,” explains Business of Fashion. Net-A-Porter and Farfetch, powerhouses in the fashion industry, have committed to going fur-free, resulting in a public stand to directly band fur sales on their platforms.

While being anti-fur brings awareness to the cruelty of animals, is it more sustainable for the world? Studies have found that faux fur, made from synthetics, acrylics and poly-fibers, is non-biodegradable and can last between 500 to 1,000 years. “Fake fur is obviously more of a polluter than real fur,” says American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Whereas, real fur is non-biodegradable, recyclable, lasting between 50 to 60 years.

On one hand you have the activists that stand for the cruelty of animals, and on the other you have those same very harmful products such as synthetic yarns that go into the production of faux fur. So, is it possible for brands to both be sustainable while being anti-fur?

“For the purpose of the law, fur is defined as “animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece or fur fibers attached thereto. For the purposes of shoppers, that means mink, sable, chinchilla, lynx, fox, rabbit, beaver, coyote and other luxury furs. Exceptions have been made for cowhide, deerskin, sheepskin and goatskin. Which means that shearling is totally fine,” details The New York Times. But, is shearling only a loophole in the anti-fur movement? Dan Mathews, Senior Vice President of PETA, tells WWD “It’s definitely a big step. We would love to see people design without leather and without any animal products. But what’s happening now as these designers have shed their fur lines, it starts the ball rolling.”

Fake fur images courtesy of PETA

As the hottest trend in fashion, this shift toward anti-fur marks an animal rights commitment. Consumers are ditching fur and fashion brands are following suit. “Faux fur is more than just simply a trend, it’s prominence,” reports American Vogue. People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is no longer the only voice for the anti-fur movement, as the fashion industry supports their activism for the betterment of the planet and animal welfare. “Studies show activism is impacting purchasing decisions,” reports Business of Fashion.

Social media has opted as a direct line for consumers to hold companies accountable for their social and financial footprints. For most brands deciding to join the animal rights activism has played in their favor, as a marketing boost and overall business shift. But, is this risk strategy worth this new direction? Time will tell!!

“It’s about time that the fashion industry woke up to the fact that fur is cruel, barbaric, and simply incredibly old-fashioned and unfashionable,” Stella McCartney told WWD. As an advocate in the fashion industry, McCartney believes the subject of fur has to be addressed, you have to stand for your business, yourself and your beliefs. “I have started to think about legacy, the next generations and leaving a better future,” Donatella Versace told The Economist’s 1843 magazine.

Image of Maison Atia courtesy of beverlyhillsmagazine.com

High profile brands, designers and retailers as of 2019 that are a fur free company include ASOS, Balmain, Betsey Johnson, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Diane Von Furstenberg, DKNY, Fendi, Furla, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Guess, InStyle, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Macy’s, Maison Mergiela, Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Rent The Runway, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Victoria Beckham, and Vivenne Westwood. Chloe Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Adrienne Landau have converted to employing imitation fur or repurposed fur. And fashion brands House of Dagmar, Miranda Dunn, Maison Atia, Shrimps, Tizana Guardino, Unreal fur, and House of Fluff have always been fur-free, using imitation fur or repurposed fur.

Fashion Reverie is here to help guide you as you say goodbye to authentic furs.

—Courtney S. Wilkins

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