Faux Fur or No Fur?

Two years ago, Gucci announced that they would be switching to faux fur from their SS18 shows onwards, following in the footsteps of designers like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood to reject real fur products. Nowadays, it definitely seems like a no-brainer to avoid fur – it feels a bit icky to even think about wearing the remains of an animal. Like those freaky old-times scarves which have the animal’s head still attached (YUCK).

But for Gucci, faux-fur doesn’t mean no fur. They even sent a full length, hot pink fluffy coat down the runway for their Spring/Summer 2019 collection – is heat stroke sexy now? Furry creations were numerous in the AW18 shows, and if the Pre Fall 2019 collections are anything to go by, they’ll still be trending next winter, embracing the seventies vibes in beige and brown tones.

I’ve got to be honest, there’s nothing lovelier than running your fingers through a beautiful fluffy coat – my friend informed us gleefully that it was ‘like wearing a duvet outside’ when she turned up in her plush New Look jacket, and I’m more than a bit jealous. It’s still cold, and set to get colder, and I’m severely tempted by all the fluffy options. They’re a more sophisticated but just as bold as my bright blue puffer, making one perfect for chilly Newcastle evenings – after borrowing my flatmate’s for a meal out, I’m kinda hooked.

However. Faux fur might be championed by activists as the ethical option – and you might get pelted by paint in London if you are seen to support animal cruelty – but it’s not that much more sustainable than the real deal. I only found out recently (and it’s silly really, because I don’t know what I thought it was made of), but faux fur is actually made from plastic. More specifically, a blend of polymers such as acrylics, produced from non-renewable materials like coal and petroleum.

There’s an ongoing publicity battle between animal rights activists and the Fur Trade to sell themselves as the sustainable option, with the British Fur Trade Federation saying that real fur is ‘natural, renewable and sustainable’. Conveniently, they don’t mention the plethora of chemicals used to stop the decay of real fur, whilst faux-fur activists avoid the fact that it takes between 600 and 1000 years for the plastic to break down in landfill. I would never buy a new fur coat and I don’t think I can buy a faux-fur one in good conscience either.

It feels like we’re in a very similar situation to the shoe one then. I could buy a vintage fur coat, but that does still mean wearing a dead animal, and although I do wear leather there is something a bit gross about full on fur…

I could also wait for the production of bio-fur, which is actually less sci-fi than it sounds – Stella McCartney is being her usual pioneer self in all things sustainable, with her brand currently developing plastic and fur alternatives. These include Microsilk (artificial silk made by using bioengineered yeast to create silk proteins) and in April 2018, the brand also produced a special edition Falabella handbag, made from bioengineered fungus roots. But as much as I would love to own just one piece by Stella, let’s not pretend that these items and materials are affordable or readily available. Mass market sustainable options for animal alternatives simply aren’t a thing right now.

So there aren’t really any other options. Maybe this is a sign that I should probably be on the look out for something a bit more versatile, that will last more than two seasons and which I won’t grow tired of. A good coat should last for several years at least, and I already have my aforementioned statement puffer. In the meantime I guess I’ll just have to keep stealing my flatmate’s jacket for when I’m craving the fluff. Apologies in advance Sally…

{ I’d love to know your opinions on all things fluffy and furry: please comment below! Subscribe and follow my Insta @_thegreenmode_ for more sustainability ramblings }

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