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Faux Fur: What to Know About this Controversial Fabric

If you take a trip down memory lane to the 80s, faux fur is one of the trends you’d love besides big hair, shoulder pads, and bell bottoms. Though this synthetic fabric got a bad rap for ethical reasons and its look, it has since shed its tacky reputation, evolving into a lavish, sought-after fashion essential.  

a lady wearing the faux fur

These days, you see it as coats, jackets, and sometimes hats. What accounts for this extreme faux fur glow-up? Stay put as we explore the fab and fame behind fake animal fur.

The Rise of Faux Fur Fashion

Picture of a lady wearing the faux fur

As soon as humans grabbed a spear and went hunting, animal pelts became the first clothing materials. Today, fur has become a staple fabric for luxurious clothes and trimmings, either as actual animal pelts or a mimicry. 

People have imitated animal fur for thousands of years, but faux fur, as we know it today, traces back to clip-pile fabrics in the early 1900s. Demand grew post WWII along with advances in acrylic textile technology. Yet early synthetic furs looked more muppet than chic on runway models. It wasn’t until the 90s when designers like Prada introduced plush, realistic fur fakes that faux fashion started gaining prestige.

In the last decade, faux fur has become popular in mainstream fashion. Top designers like Gucci, Michael Kors, and Jean Paul Gaultier have all incorporated this fabric into their collections. Similarly, on the high street, retailers like Zara, H&M, and ASOS are also jumping on the trend.

Part of the appeal of fake fur is that the best of this fabric can now emulate the look and feel of real fur almost identically. Technology has improved so much that it can fool even fur experts on sight and touch. This means fashionistas can stay on trend while still upholding ethical values.

Furthermore, sustainability is another factor driving the faux fur craze. More eco-conscious consumers want cruelty-free options with less environmental impact, and the production of this fabric captures this. It generally uses less water, energy, and land resources instead of raising and hunting animals for real fur. In addition, although some fake animal fur fabric still uses plastics and synthetics, recycled options are also on the rise.

Of course, the rise of fabulous fakes connects to increased fur activism too. As more consumers learn about the cruelty inside coveted fur trim, faux providers stepped in to offer guilt-free glam. But are these animal-friendly alternatives better for the planet? That debate rages on. Still, glossy moda operandi faux fur tops many an eco-conscious fashionista’s wishlist.

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What is Faux Fur Made Of?

Rihanna stylishly dresses in faux fur

Faux fur, sometimes called synthetic fur, is a pile fabric that mimics the appearance and feel of real animal fur. It comprises a mixture of polyester, modacrylic, and acrylic fibers. It was first created in 1929 and made of alpaca hair. However, by the 1940s, technological advancements in the textile industry had significantly raised the quality of this fabric.

The first entirely synthetic fur coats were made in the 1950s when acrylic polymers took the role of alpaca hair. Nowadays, manufacturers combine acrylic and modacrylic polymers to create faux fur. These polymers are not only animal-friendly but can also hold dye no matter how.

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Is Faux Fur Worse than Real Fur?

Picture showing the fabulous fakes

Faux fur is a niche material, representing just 0.1% of the 80 billion garments produced worldwide annually. Although the clothing is blamed for polluting the environment with microfibres, artificial fur coats require much less frequent washing than most synthetic garments and take four times less energy to manufacture than an actual fur coat. 

However, while synthetic fur is way cheaper than the real thing and does not involve directly harming animals, it is still bad for the environment. As written in The Fashion Business Manual, fake animal pelt is detrimental to the environment due to its disposable, fast-fashion nature. Hence, this fabric often receives criticism because it is made of synthetic materials. But as an ethical substitute, there aren’t many compelling reasons to say it is worse than real fur.

Is Faux Fur Warmer than Real Fur?

Another picture of a lady dressed in the fabulous fakes

While it imitates the look and feel of real fur, it is not as warm as the latter. Unlike real fur that animals organically develop for insulation, faux fur is synthetic. This prevents skin from breathing and makes it less insulating. Moreover, unlike faux fur, the inside fur lining in the real ones makes for extra warmth. Essentially, it’s safe to say real fur is more appropriate for mountain climbing, skiing, and hiking since it better shields the wearer from inclement weather. 

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How to Tell Faux Fur from Real Fur

Picture of a lady rocking the look

Most people find it hard to differentiate between fake and real fur since advances are made in the textile industry to make the most genuine-looking fur. Thankfully, it’s easy to tell them apart. Here are some helpful steps you can use to distinguish them:

Check the Base of the Fur

If your clothing is made up of faux fur, chances are there is a noticeable fabric backing once you check its surface. You will also notice stitches on the different corners of the item. So check for this to confirm.

Check the Tips of the Fur Fibers 

Faux fur may have machine-cut and pointy fibers. On the other hand, if it is real fur, the fibers tend to be soft and tapered.

Burn a Few Bits of the Fur 

Trim a few fibers and burn them, this will help you tell them apart immediately. If the ashes smell like burnt hair, then it’s a real pelt. On the other hand, if the smell is similar to burnt plastic, it is fake fluff.

Determine Weight 

Clothes or products made from faux fur are usually lighter than real fur products.

Poke its Insides Using a Pin 

If your fur is fake, the pin will pass through. But if it doesn’t , your material is likely real animal fur since animal skins tend to be thick.

The Future of the Remarkable Fake Fur

Picture of  a lady rocking the look

The faux fur craze shows no signs of slowing down. And. with growing concerns around microplastic pollution, some designers are now turning to upcycled and plant-based materials for sustainable “fur” alternatives.

So, while the faux fur phenomenon continues to grow, embrace them because they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Though they may not be perfect, these fluffy fabrics continue to provide a glamorous option as the industry moves in an increasingly ethical direction. Whether you think it is fashionable or a faux pas, fashionistas are sporting them stuff everywhere. And given the style setters rocking it today, faux may be getting the last laugh after all.

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Blessing Otoro

Blessing Otoro is an SEO content writer with years of experience gathered from writing different niches and is ready to use her professional knowledge to enhance organizational goals and objectives through competence.

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