Fur is going out of fashion. It’s outdated and consumers agree. In the UK, 93 percent of Britons do not wear animal fur, according to a survey by the Humane Society International animal welfare organization. In the United States, the value mink pelts fell more than $ 59 million in 2019. And globally, fur auctions are selling fewer pelts.
But textile innovations have spawned alternatives to vegan fur, proving that faux is the future of fashion. And for good reason.
The impact of fur on the environment and animals
The fur can come from a variety of animals; mink, rabbits, foxes, chinchillas, and raccoon dogs are just a few examples. And animals like bobcats and weasels can also be caught in the wild.
According to an animal rights group PETA, about 85 percent of the fur industry’s fur comes from animals bred in captivity on fur farms. These animals are often kept in appalling conditions, crammed into cramped cages to maximize profits, with insufficient access to food and water. And to make sure their skins are removed intact, animals are often slaughtered using horrific methods including electrocution, gas, poison, or a broken neck.
Besides cruelty to animals, the impact of fur on the environment is considerable. The ecological footprint of the increased 100 million animals which are cultivated each year, as well as the tanning and dyeing of the fur, are vast: abundant amounts of soil, water and energy are needed. And in addition to being very resource-intensive, the industry is polluting. Animal skins are often soaked in toxic chemicals like formaldehyde – a classified carcinogen that can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat – to preserve them. The use of these chemicals, along with animal wastes, often pollutes the environment and surrounding waterways.
And on top of that, fur farms spread disease. Due to the fact that mink are susceptible to respiratory viruses, the COVID-19 outbreaks have had a dramatic impact on hundreds of mink fur farms in Europe and North America. As a result, countries have resorted to slaughtering millions of mink in order to stop the spread of the disease. Following Denmark’s order for a mass mink slaughter last year, Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house, has revealed it will shut down for good within the next two to three. years.
The Canadian outerwear giant has confirmed that it will stop producing products with fur by 2022. The brand has pledged to only use recycled fur salvaged from old coats instead. virgin fur.
Credit: Canada Goose
As part of a wider movement to become a more ethical and eco-friendly luxury brand, Valentino has announced that it is ditching fur. He intends to be furless by 2022.
Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga
Luxury designers are the latest Kering-owned brands to ditch skins. Animal rights groups Humane Society International and Humane Society of the United States have worked with Kering on a fur-free policy for more than a decade.
Credit: Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY
Neiman Marcus Group
Neiman Marcus’ parent company will cease sales of animal fur products by early 2023. All 22 department store chain fur salons will also be closed in the coming years.
Credit: MARK RALSTON / AFP via Getty Images
Saks Fifth Avenue
The department store chain has pledged to give up fur by the end of 2022. The move responded to consumer demand. The brand will also close all of its fur salons by the end of fiscal 2021.
Credit: John Greim / LightRocket via Getty Images
The German sportswear giant became the 1,500th company to join the Fur Free Retailer program, joining Lacoste, Zara, the Prada group, H&M and ASOS.
Credit: Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY
YSL and Brioni
In September, the Kering Group, the parent company of many luxury fashion brands, such as Saint Laurent and Brioni, revealed it would be 100% fur-free by 2022.
Credit: Karl Prouse / Catwalking / Getty Images
Oscar de la Renta
In August, the luxury fashion brand revealed that it will no longer sell products featuring fur from October.
Credit: Stefan Gosatti / Getty Images
Elle, one of the world’s most influential fashion magazines, has taken a stand against fur this year, banning it from its pages altogether. The publication will no longer feature fur in any of its 45 editions, which are read by over 33 million readers.
Credit: JOEL SAGET / AFP via Getty Images
Even countries have enacted fur bans. Estonia became the 14th European country and the first Baltic state to ban fur farming. No new permits to keep mink and raccoon dogs will be issued after July 2021. This style of fur farming will also be banned from 2026.
Credit: Fashion is going to be a fur-free zone very soon
In June, Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fashion fur. The ban includes exemptions. Under the new law, fur permits will still be issued for “scientific research, education, instructional purposes and religious purposes and traditions.”
Credit: Marco Lastella / Unsplash
In October, Ireland passed a ban on fur farming. The Cabinet has put in place a compensation scheme to support fur breeders, who will be allowed to enter the 2021 season. The ban will come into effect in 2022.
Credit: ozina / Getty
Ann Arbor, Michigan
In August, members of Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted to ban the sale of fur products throughout the city. The ordinance prohibits the sale of finished fur products, such as coats and hats, to the exclusion of the sale of raw furs.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, the Canadian province has revealed it will shut down its fur farming industry. According to its phase-out plan, it will permanently shut down its live mink farms by April 2023. And by 2025, it will end all operations, including sales of skins.
Credit: Claudio Lavenia / Getty
The future of (fake) fur
Fortunately, we don’t have to contribute to animal cruelty and environmental degradation in the name of fashion. Many brands are now abandoning animal fur in favor of more ethical materials.
In 2019, British designer Stella McCartney launched a sustainable faux fur called Koba. The recyclable material includes plant-based materials, such as corn. âI think fashion is about the future and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your style for durability,â McCartney said. “I wanted to try and develop a faux fur that’s just more durable.”
A wide variety of other fabrics can be used to simulate animal fur, such as hemp and polyester. Scientists have even turned to lab-grown fur to disrupt the luxury fashion industry. Amsterdam-based biotech startup Furoid has created the world’s first in vitro hair follicle bound to collagen, which can be used to make fur and wool without killing animals. While not technically vegan (researchers have grown stem cells from various animals), the material grown offers a solid alternative to fur obtained by culling.
Luxury fashion designers aren’t the only ones giving up on fur. Fur abandonment is happening en masse with countries around the world banning the industry. And even some of the biggest brands of outerwear and athletic wear are moving away from fur. Here are some of the biggest bans of 2021.
About the Author
PERSONAL WRITER | LOS ANGELES, CA Audrey writes on sustainability, food and entertainment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in audiovisual journalism and political science.