Fur: The Sustainable Option

‘Fur phobia’ has swept through the Fashion Industry. High end fashion brands, such as Chanel, Fendi and Prada, use fur, leather and animal skin. However, with luxury comes the perception that these products are simply a way for you to show off your wealth and are harmful to animals and the environment. The ever-growing hatred for authentic fur fashion has caused ‘lower end’ UK retailers to react, choosing plastic and faux fur alternatives.

For example, Boohoo and ASOS, two of the UK’s leading retailers have teamed up with PETA (People for ethical treatment of animals) to prohibit the use of fur, silk, leather, animal skin, cashmere and wool. Instead, they use man made acrylics which actually cause more damage, in the long run, to the environment.

60% of synthetic fabrics are now made in factories using machinery powered by fossil fuels, that is adding to air pollution and the overall effect of global warming. Once made, the fabrics shed micro fibres that will take hundreds of years to bio-degrade. These tiny plastic particles that are shed in the wash can end up in waterways and food supplies and are ingested by aquatic animals. Not only this, in 2018 the UK alone took 300,000 tonnes of textiles and clothing, not all of which could be recycled properly, to landfill.

Keith Kaplin, of the Fur Information Council says “petrol-based plastic fur is extremely harmful to the environment. It isn’t biodegradable and It’s harmful to wildlife”.

We aren’t saying that high fashion brands are totally blameless. They often burn stock to ensure the brands value doesn’t depreciate (2018 saw Burberry burn stock worth £28.6million) but the use of furs, silks, skin and leather lasts a life time and is highly sustainable in the long term.

As the late Karl Lagerfeld said, “I hate the idea of killing animals in a horrible way, but as long as people eat meat and wear leather I don’t get the message”.

When it came to the use of real fur, Karl had backing from a range of other high-end fashion houses and tailors. In reality, European fur lives a great life and animals aren’t kept in cages and tortured as animal rights activists have you believe. The fur trade is considered a way of managing the wildlife population and provides livelihood for many communities.

Fashion manufacturers and retailers seem to be under the influence of animal rights activists, who often use ‘sustainability’ as an excuse for being anti-fur. In the UK, this has become an increasing issue and is even backed by the Government, who has banned the production of fur in the United Kingdom. This has expanded further afield, driving the fur trade out of Europe to lands where animal rights don’t even exist, such as Russia and China.

Whilst fur isn’t for everyone, it has many benefits when it comes to longevity and sustainability. For luxury fur pieces that will never go out of style browse our Patricia K Pritchard wardrobe.