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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fake or Real Fur?

Real or fake fur? Does it make a difference?

Internet check on "fake fur":

Fake fur, also called fun fur or faux fur, is any material made of synthetic fibers designed to resemble fur, normally as part of a piece of clothing. It was first introduced in 1929[1] and has been commercially available since the 1950s, but its increasing popularity has been credited to its promotion by animal rights and animal welfare organizations which claim that it is an animal-friendly alternative to traditional fur clothing.[2]

 Uses

Faux fur is not only used in clothing, but also for stuffed animals, fashion accessory and home decorations like pillows. It is also sometimes used for craft projects because it can be sewn on a sewing machine. Real fur is generally thicker and requires a special machine, hand sewing or an awl to sew it.[3] Lately, fake fur has been increasingly used in the main stream teen fashion, for example the stores Abercrombie & Fitch[4] and American Eagle[5] use it for trapper hats and jackets. In the Soviet, and now Russian Army, fish fur is used as a slang term for the fake fur used on winter clothing and the ubiquitous ushanka hats. Similarly, fashion design labels such as Ralph Lauren and Chanel have promoted the use of fake fur in their collections.[6]



Advantages and disadvantages

 Advantages

  • Fake fur is a fabric, therefore it is relatively easy to sew with.
  • Fake fur doesn't require killing animals in factory farms like real fur.
  • Fake fur does not require cold storage to prevent deterioration and is impervious to moths.[7]
  • A 1979 study commissioned by the Fund for Animals argued that the energy consumption for the production of one coat made out of fake fur was 120 MBtu, compared to 433 MBtu for trapped animals and 7,965 MBtu for animals raised in fur farms.[8] This study has been criticized as being biased and outdated.[9]

Disadvantages

  • Fake fur is not as warm or insulating as real fur.[10]
  • Fake fur is not a natural material, therefore the wearer's skin cannot breathe like it would in real fur or leather.[10]
  • Fake fur is made from several materials including blends of acrylic and modacrylic polymers derived from coal, air, water, petroleum and limestone. Unlike natural real fur, these materials can take a long time to break down (anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years).[9]
  • Fake furs are not able to keep snow from melting and re-freezing on the fiber filaments; this is very important, especially in hiking, mountain climbing, skiing and other outdoor activities which are done in extreme conditions.[2]