There are a lot of misconceptions about the fur industry, and it’s no secret that we love fur here at A Touch of Luxe. This is the first of many posts that will shed some light on why fur is green.
A pile of Fox pelts, sorted and ready to be made into a coat or other garment.
To start us off, one of the first fur myths that come to mind is the claim that synthetic fur is a much more sustainable choice. The answer to this depends on what you define as “sustainable”. Now, we all know where fur comes from and how we obtain it. Some people may not consider killing 30-50 million animals a year (a loose approximation of how many animals are used by the fur industry) sustainable. For one mink coat, about 30-60 mink pelts are used. That sounds like alot, but when you take into account that a mink takes one year to reach age of maturity, and a female mink produces a litter of 4-6 pups, that’s a quickly renewed resource. Can you think of very many other resources that renew in a year? Certainly not petroleum, or even wood.
Image Courtesy of eoearth.org
The petroleum used to make synthetic fur is a non-renewable resource: once we use it all up, that’s it for the next 40 million years. The petroleum doesn’t come out of the ground ready to be spun into faux fur, either. It must undergo many chemical treatments and use large amounts of energy to convert this oil byproduct into a wearable fibre.
A close up of faux fur. Image Courtesy of sharonsews.blogspot.com
Fur, on the other hand, does not require much treatment. Native Americans and Inuit people have been “processing” fur and leather long before the invention of faux fur. Surprisingly, fur treatment, aside from special colour treatment, hasn’t changed much. And fur is going to be around forever, as long as we take care of the environment that these animals can thrive in, and that the animals aren’t over hunted. Organizations like the International Fur Trade Federation, and the Government of Canada, have strict regulations in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Michael Kors, classic, relevant fur coats. Image from runwaypicks.com
Another way to interpret sustainability is the longevity of a fur coat vs. a faux fur or other synthetic coat. Fur coats, due to the cost, are usually cut in classic styles that are relevant for years and years. Faux fur, however, can be found in “styles” like this:
Image from etsy.com
No one is going to wear a coat like that for more than a season. And even with a flattering, classic cut, over a few short seasons the faux fur is going to mat and become unwearable (sadly, my knock-off Kate Hudson a la “Almost Famous” coat is a testament to this). However, fur coats have consistently proven to be long lasting, heirloom pieces that get passed down from family member to family member.
Even vegetarians have a hard time turning down a vintage mink coat. Image from the TV series "Friends".
Fur can be worn for generations, and even if the coat becomes un-stylish, it can be taken apart by a skilled furrier and reworked into a new design completely. A fur coat can even be made into a smaller fur piece if portions of the coat are no longer usable.
Let us know what you think about this new addition, and if you have any questions about fur, or maybe your own myths you’ll like to see dispelled, let us know in the comments!
Some great resources to learn even more about the sustainability of fur:
Slate.com Article on the sustainability of fur vs. faux.
A PDF from the government of Tennessee outlining how to treat fur.