The Cost of the Fur Industry

Times are changing rapidly, and the responsible thing to do is to change with it. Major brands have been joining the fur-free initiative for a very long time. An abundance of eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics have entered the market. Vegan leather is one of the biggest hits these last few seasons. It is crucial to understand why going fur-free is better for everyone. In addition to causing suffering and death to millions of animals to produce fur-based products, it also leads to land desolation, climate change and pollution, and severe water contamination and wastage.

If saving the lives of helpless animals is not cause enough, Pause. Reflect. And try to understand how it is affecting human lives as well. Calvin Klein in 1994 took the step of going fur-free. The designer spoke about the inhumane treatment of animals. He discussed how his brand ideology did not align with the fashion industry's need to use animal fur. Stella McCartney was raised by vegetarian parents and realised early on in her career that all her collections are going to be fur-free. She has also gone the extra mile of establishing 'fur-free fur', a sub-label of underlining the consciousness of using faux fur. In more recent times, Michael Kors and Gucci have also joined the initiative, followed by Maison Margiela.

Source: Delft, June 2013

Sustainability can become desirability if we work collectively towards the common goal of becoming conscientious people.

While major fashion houses have made the conscious decision of not using fur, it is important to understand that faux fur is not the answer to the 'fur conundrum'. The major problem with it is that it is very damaging to the environment. Whilst certain varieties of faux fur are biodegradable, it takes them over hundreds of years to breakdown. The microfibres used in the making of faux fur can also leak into the water every time it is washed. While faux fur helps save animal lives, anything produced at a high rate leaves a lasting impact on the planet.

Some chemicals used in the making and dyeing of fake fur are poisonous.

Source: CE Delft inventory, 2011

Some designers understand the boon and bane of imitation fur and try to make a conscious effort, but is it enough? The designers alone cannot make a change. Consumers need to realise how their demands and desires impact the environment. A large number of consumers are mindful of their choices when it comes to fashion. The most significant thing we can do is try and control our desires. Albeit faux fur is good for our morals, it is also deficient for the environment. Fashion can be luxurious without the use of any kind of fur. Let us make the smart and healthy choice. Let us be altruistic.

Source for graphs: Delft, June 2013 – Natural mink fur and faux fur products, an environmental comparison by Marijn Bijleveld