For years I’ve loved the aesthetic look of a fur coat, evoking old Hollywood glamour, sophistication, classic beauty. A fur coat reminds me of my grandmother, who was a ridiculously glamorous woman right until the end of her life. Indeed, of the three faux fur coats that I own, I inherited two from her.
It’s a well known fact that buying real fur is morally wrong. That the animals reared, or hunted, but ultimately always killed for their pelts are murdered in the most senseless and inhumane ways. Arguments can be made for buying vintage or recycled real fur, but for me personally even that makes me uncomfortable.
I’ve always thought of faux fur as the more humane and ethical way to enjoy the look that I covet, but what if it’s not?
We’re learning more and more about the impact of microplastics from synthetic fabrics on our environment. They’re in our oceans, in our fresh water supply. Just last week it was revealed that even in remote mountain regions, microplastics are raining down from the sky.
This can be a hard pill to swallow for those of us who’ve spent our lives buying clothes without thinking about what they’re actually made out of. Synthetic fabrics are cheap, and I’d bet that most young people have wardrobes full of them.
Luckily, if you fit that description, there are things you can do immediately to reduce the microplastics that your clothes are releasing into the world. As most microplastics are released in the washing machine, you can opt to wash your synthetic clothes less, and use a protective bag like the GuppyFriend when you do. Doing both of those things could actually extend the life of your clothes too, which is another great thing for sustainability!
In the case of faux fur coats, however, it’s a little more complicated. How many times have you worn, or even touched a faux fur coat only to realise that individual hairs were coming off on your hand or the rest of your clothes? Like real animal fur, or human hair, faux fur sheds everywhere, and those little plastic hairs go on to join other types of micro waste in polluting our environment.
So, what are the alternatives?
Since coming to this realisation I personally have decided that I won’t be buying faux fur from now on, and I’ve even lost the desire to wear the coats I already own. They remind me so much of my grandmother though, which means there’s a huge amount of sentimental value attached to them, so I think for now I’ll keep them safely stored away.
There are ways you can pay homage to the fur aesthetic without actually buying fur, real or fake. Animal prints are (arguably) timeless, and many eco-friendly brands use them in their designs.
There are companies who are starting to make faux fur from recycled plastic bottles, which is a beautiful idea but in the end does pose a lot of the same issues.
There are also some designers, like M. Patmos, who are working on eco-friendly fur that uses animal fibres, such as wool from sheep or alpaca, but ultimately does not kill or do harm to animals. Some vegans may not be completely comfortable with that however, as animal products are still being used in the process.
As of right now I can’t find any information about non-animal derived natural fibres being used to make faux fur, but that could change in the future.
Ultimately, it’s up to the individual whether they want to stop buying faux fur or not. I just hope that people will start to think more critically about the materials their clothes are made out of, and how to properly take care of them.
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Have a wonderful day!