The sartorial incentives to choose faux fur have never been more compelling. The Tylt, a consumer research group that polls millennial and Gen Z-ers, found that 76.2 percent of respondents believe all designers should ban the use of fur. Whether you’re an animal advocate that loves the luxe look it, or you’re an environmental advocate who knows vegan textiles are more sustainable, the stylish opportunities of the season are endless. (Hello: colorful and fun “fur” prints.)
Still, even faux fur is far from being perfect and there are a couple of red flags that critics note — like the fact that it is petroleum-based and non-biodegradable, or that microplastic and microfiber pollution end up in our water-ways when it’s washed. “It’s presented as an ethical alternative to real fur,” says Fleur Britten, assistant editor of the Sunday Times Style. “But it’s also bad news for the environment and the people who produce it, thanks to the chemical-intensive production and its use of fossil fuels to create it.” But speaking from a harm-reduction standpoint, every step consumers take away from factory farming (the emission-heavy, corporate-cultivation of animals for commodities like meat, dairy, leather, and fur) helps forge a more sustainable market in the future. As a whole, the non-animal derived textile industry yields only one third the carbon footprint of its animal-derived counterpart.
“The relationship between fashion, factory farming, and climate change cannot be ignored,” states Emmanuelle Rienda, creator of Vegan Fashion Week. “Vegan sustainable fashion is the ultimate answer to climate change and waste pollution.” And, as time goes on, there is headway being made towards the development of even more efficient textiles — like Frumat, the eco-friendly alternative to existing vegan leather options. As consumers make it increasingly clear that we care about ethics in fashion, the environment, and the treatment of animals, brands are responding. Even haute couture designers like Burberry, Prada, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, and John Galliano have joined Stella McCartney in banning fur starting with their 2020 collections.
Faux fur and upcycled fur brand, Bubish, stands out for its commitment to innovation in this space. Alex and Georgie Babyska, the Director and Designer of the brand (respectively), make sustainability a key component of their business model. In addition to designing faux fur garments that will last for years, their website includes an upcycled fur section of outerwear made from recycled fur. “We have a strong customer base that loves to wear the real thing, but in a conscious way,” Babyska explains. “This process involves our factory sourcing surplus fur [that left over from the food industry. It is then washed, dyed, and finally hand-crafted by our team of knitters and sewers.” The upcycled fur coat that results is warm, biodegradable, durable, and no animals were killed for its creation.
With California becoming the first state to ban the sale of fur, following Los Angeles, Berkeley, and San Francisco’s city-wide bans, the faux fur trend will not be fizzling out anytime soon. Politics aside, you’ll love the cuddly feel of some faux fur outerwear in winter. Below, discover our favorites.