In a store today, attempting to double my daily record of caffeine intake and flipping through Elle, I noticed not many pages were without an animals previous outfit. A fox thrown around a collar, a reptile used as a trim, a birds mobility scattered on a vest... Fur is everywhere! I personally adore the lavishness of it all but at the same time became very aware of the potential demand for the stuff. Does this mean there will be a rise in fur farms? And if you’re buying synthetic, how harmful is that to our environment?
In my attempts of responsible consumerism, I came across a personal conflict.
The real stuff:
I love it! I own a few vintage coats and wraps that I picked up in thrift stores a while back. In the past, I’ve never been able to justify buying from furriers or new in stores because that’s one more sale increasing the demand. Also, I probably should admit that my wallet’s not too keen on the idea either. However, buying pre- owned (cleverly labeled vintage) doesn’t bother me at all. I’m big on quality, I’m huge on well made, and ginormous on inexpensive. Vintage kinda solves all my problems. You just have to take it somewhere to make sure it’s cleaned very well.
Don’t get stingy or you could be fashionably wearing bugs!
A snob I am not and synthetic is starting to look and feel less man made. Most designers have made the switch. It’s fantastic actually. Are faux fur products good for our environment though?
Animal products are decomposable and don’t require harmful dye’s which contain highly poisonous carcinogens. The fake stuff is usually made from nylon and polyester, which both synthetic materials are responsible for large-scale factory pollution of our waterways as well as 50% of poisonous “greenhouse” gas nitrous oxide emissions in our air. Polyester is made using petrochemicals, an oil based product. “Yes, we’re tapping into to our oil reserves to make a synthetic fur coat. No it doesn’t make me feel better about myself.” Teresa Platt, director of America’s fur commission, says '”Between four and eight million jackets are being sold every year, creating a disposal nightmare for years to come.” She estimates that it takes one gallon of oil to make just three fake fur jackets making me think I don’t need one that badly.
Domestic dog hair?:
Sooo, when I first heard the controversy about domestic dog hair I immediately thought, “Gross, I totally own one of these.” (dog I mean) Then a pause... then a tilt of the head... then a thought, even though I hate the reality of euthanization, I also understand it. There’s not enough money or people to help out in humane society’s. Why torture a living thing that way when you can humanely end their suffering? I witnessed it happen a few years ago. They put an animal into a deep sleep and after a few minutes they give them another shot stopping their heart. Over four million dogs and felines are euthanized that way each year. Now for the thought, using domestic dog hair ends a demand for fur farms and doesn’t harm our environment. If the remains are going to be thrown out anyways, then why not use the material?
As I looked up designers who only used domestic dog hair, I came across a few articles ripping into Tommy Hilfiger, Sean John, Jay-Z and Andrew Marks Mark line for using the stuff. As I continued reading, I quickly realized that domestic dog hair doesn’t mean our orphaned friends at the humane society... domestic dog hair is what they found in a bunch of designers collections after swearing it’s faux. “WHAT THE HELL?” After being tested, they found traces of raccoon, dog, fox, and rabbit mixed in with a small percentage of synthetic.
So if you’re synthetic feels real, that’s because it probably is.
For me personally...
I will not be buying synthetic this season. I already own yards of synthetic that I was planning on making a vest out of a year ago. That I’ll be keeping. As for the real stuff, I’m not sure how I feel about wearing my fur thrift finds. While I agree with buying second hand as a way to decrease the demand, I also have to accept the responsibility of someone seeing me in it, thinking it’s great, and buying it new. Maybe a button with bright red letters reading “NO FUR/NO SYNTHETIC ONLY PRE-OWNED”? All that probably won’t fit on a button though. For right now I'm leaving it at that.