We see the odd fur coat still appearing on the runways, but it’s not likely that fur will ever hold the place in fashion it once held.
In the 1940s and into the 50s, there was a swell in the popularity of furs – people had more money after the hard times of the war, and owning a fur coat (especially a luxury mink) represented comfort and success.
It was the ultimate glamour, the height of fashion and good taste. Women then didn’t have the opportunities for financial independence that we have now, so a rich husband or boyfriend might buy her fur back in the days when he controlled the finances, but if she came into money of her own she might treat herself to a fur coat.
In the 60s a couple of factors contributed to a decline in fur – it came to be associated with a less trendy and more dependent kind of femininity, and women were on the move (thankfully!) away from that, in the Western world at least.
But there was also the practicality of central heating becoming more common – there wasn’t as much need to be snuggled up in warm furs anymore! Plus animal rights activists stepped up their game through to the 80s and 90s, and that was really the end of the fur trade as we’d always known it.
Synthetic or faux fur became cheap to produce and the quality is getting better all the time, so if you ask most people nowadays they’ll tell you they wouldn’t touch real fur, except maybe if it was true vintage… that counts as re-using and recycling, maybe?!
The popularity of this faux fur is on the rise though – we’re seeing a huge trend in fur trim and accessories particularly, and it’s so cosy and soft and cuddly… who wouldn’t want to be decked in such lovely lush textures? All the best bits of the luxurious fur trade, and completely guilt free.
Or is it?
Sourcing from a designer like Stella McCartney, with her gloriously ginormous shaggy ‘Fur Free Fur’ coats, will likely see you right for ethical faux fabulousness.
Most boutiques and high street stores also have fur-free policies (we do of course at Redlane), but be careful of clothes sold on market stalls and online marketplaces – lax labelling laws and super cheap fur production costs mean you really don’t know what you’re getting.
The Humane Society International UK carried out laboratory tests on three items being sold as faux fur last winter, and found them to be made of mink, fox and rabbit.
To check what you’re getting, separate the fur at the base. If it’s fake, you will see the fabric webbing. If it’s real, it will be attached to skin.
Or try the burn test: Clip off the tip of the fibres and set light to them. If they melt like plastic, it’s fake. If they singe and smell of burning hair, it’s real.
Don’t be fooled by No Faux!