The conversation about fur

Recently, fashion lovers may have read alarming information about faux fur being a "threat for the environment".

Faux fur ? it makes no sense to use a product full of chemicals and plastics (…) we have seen the recents documentaries on plastics in our oceans claimed the International Fur Federation in WWD four months ago, while last week the CEO of another fur trade organization talked about :

The environmental nightmare of fake/plastic fur again for WWD, without giving reference to reliable sources to back-up those claims.

Rows of faux furs at Chanel F/W 2018

Rows of faux furs at Chanel F/W 2018

Speculations anyone ?

Such defamatory statements are based on pure speculations

Experts will confirm you that you won't find faux fur coats in our oceans but rather single-use plastics. Even though we can expect from an industry to do anything to protect its best interests, we can not accept a blatant and opportunistic exploitation of environmental issues to pursue a commercial agenda.

Faux Fur is responsible.

From Chanel, to Gucci, Armani, Versace, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Givenchy and many more, top designers are falling in love with faux fur and will continue to use it.

At the same time the practice of factory farming becomes increasingly controversial, and has been banned in several european countries.

This insecurity is the reason why the fur industry’s PR machine is out in full force.

Time to elevate the conversation

The debate on ecology and sustainability is very complex and needs more precision than assumptions.

To this day, the faux fur sector has not been linked to any form of environmental degradation, unlike several fur factory farms linked to local, and documented, environmental degradations in Canada, France or China.

Faux fur might be a synthetic fabric, it doesn’t mean it is produced in an irresponsible manner. In modern countries, faux fur mills have a water cleaning system and all the fabrics comply with the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals).

"Real" Fur might be a « natural » fiber, it doesn’t mean it is innocuous.

As Stella Mac Cartney recalled recently on her website

Fur is natural only in the sense that it comes from an animal ; however, in order to be sellable fur has to be tanned in a process contaminated with toxic chemicals…It is important to highlight that something from natural origins does not inherently make it sustainable.

It remains much smarter form an energy efficiency perspective to use a synthetic fiber and create a life friendly fabric, than to bring to life tens of millions of animals every 6 months, feed them, water them, collect the pelts and process them with petrochemicals. This perpetual industrial cycle is an ecological absurdity.

If we take into account the bigger picture, in the specific context of fur, the use of faux instead of animal pelts is a coherent option for a brand willing to set up a sustainability plan.

According to Copenhagen Fashion summit’s Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, the fashion industry is responsible for the emission of 1,715 million tons of CO2 in 2015. The 2018 climate Works report put the fashion industry at 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet we now know, thanks to independent studies, that the climate impact of a faux fur coat is 4 to 7 times smaller in terms of CO2 emissions, than that of a mink fur coat.

 

Not only these top designers named in the introduction make a life saving decision when they switch from real to faux fur, sparing millions of lives, but they also make a smart choice : producing the same coat with a reduced impact on climate change is what eco efficiency is about.

While the fur industry is busy promoting the dystopian nightmare that is factory farming and make the discussion confused, people in the faux fur sector are actively working to create our transition from oil based products to bio fabricated products. New technologies, creativity and innovations are part of the fashion industry’s toolbox for a greener future. Not factory farms.

This encourages us to talk directly to designers and give them better information.