In an era when “organic”, “sustainable” and “renewable” dominate the consumer lexicon it is quite ironic that those who purport to be eco-friendly or “socially conscious” would promote “faux fur” products. When it comes to fur, the rush to faux is especially concerning.
Faux Fur’s REAL Costs
We certainly respect everyone’s right to their own opinion and we don’t mean to disparage those who choose to wear faux fur. After all, it’s a personal choice as both a real fur and a faux fur designer noted in a recent Vogue article debating the subject . And we have to admit, there are some great looking faux fur options out there this season.
But when it comes to making environmentally responsible choices faux fur may not be all it’s cracked up to be. To start with, you have to consider the impact on the environment from the production, processing and disposal of faux fur vs real fur. The nylon, acrylic and polyester that make up faux fur is manufactured from non-renewable petroleum and these synthetic fibers take a really long time to break down. And when they do break down, scientists find they are actually poisoning our marine life.
Real fur, on the other hand, is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. With local, national and international regulations in place the fur industry makes use of available resources without depleting wildlife species or depleting the environment. The international fur industry does not trade in endangered species and all fur types used by the trade come from species that are abundant. And real fur is durable, reusable and recyclable.
Today’s farm-raised mink are among the world’s best cared-for livestock. They have to be. Good nutrition, comfortable housing and prompt veterinary care is absolutely essential for rich, lustrous, healthy fur. And if a farmer isn’t producing healthy animals, he goes out of business pretty quickly. That’s just common sense. National codes of practice and operating guidelines provide further assurance that farmed fur bearing animals are well cared for. In addition, mink farmers voluntarily adhere to stricter codes of animal husbandry to participate in farm certification programs. And did you know that these farmed mink consume mountains of food waste each year, making these farms net pollution consumers?
On the wild fur side, there are some pretty strong reasons that point to why fur is an appropriate choice for the eco-minded consumer . Now let’s look at production. Unlike mass-produced faux fur apparel, real fur garments are produced by hand, requiring the artistry and skilled handiwork of talented craftsmen. The amount of energy and fossil fuel required for fabrication is relatively low when compared to large, automated factories.
And, let’s not forget that the fur trade supports land-based cultures and local indigenous populations contributing to environmental conservation. Without the ability to trap or hunt these indigenous people would be forced to turn to other activities for their livelihoods, opening up their territories to mining, oil drilling or other interests.
So, with all the noise about faux fur of late, if you find yourself in a bit of an ethical dilemma asking yourself if faux fur really is the ethical, eco-friendly alternative you’re not alone. And on closer examination, one can make a pretty strong case for real fur. So, with all the fantastic fur fashion hitting the stores for fall 2017 we say go ahead….why fake it?