The rise of fur began roughly 170,000 years ago as a method of survival and keeping warm. Over the years, fur has become a symbolism of wealth, luxury, and status due to royalty using the material as an accessory and during the 1300s laws were passed to depict which social classes were able to wear a particular fur. Today, we have a better understanding of ethical practice and a lot of us are aware that the killing of animals for materialistic gain is not a conscious way of shopping, or is it?
In recent years, the knowledge surrounding environmental impacts has become a hot topic due to the ever-growing amount of toxic waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and an enormous amount of non-renewable energy being consumed within the fashion industry. This goes alongside the animal rights movement which was followed up by the British fashion council placing a ban on fur being used in London Fashion Week 2019. This was a step in the right direction if your opinion is in favour of this, however, the desire of wearing fur has not decreased and that’s where the plastic fur look-a- likes came into play. Plastic in our oceans has a devastating consequence on the future of our planet and yet we continue to produce materials that worsen the effects.
Synthetic fabrics play a huge role in the microplastics issue as it was reported in 2016 that synthetic jackets released 1,174 milligrams of microfibres when washed. This causes detrimental effects to our marine life, which in turn has traumatic effects on the way we live our lives.
Additionally, these plastic materials are made from fossil fuels which have worsened the climate crisis and the outlook will only get bleaker. With the vast number of animals being harmed due to faux fur, it's important to question the value of animal skin and whether the impact would be greater or not.
Campaign specialist at PETA, Ashley Byrne, states that we must consider both human and animal rights when looking at sustainable practices in fashion. Byrne thinks that fur is still far worse for the environment with 85% of the fur industry being sourced from animals living in captivity in factory farms. Not only does the carbon dioxide emissions from farming have a detrimental impact on our waterways, but also, the chemical treatments and dyes used in production are contaminating the water that we drink, causing instant effects to our wellbeing and quality of life.
As we know, fur is biodegradable which would cause a lot less harm to our environment but is it worth the cost of animals’ lives to make a fashion statement? With the purpose of the material being none other than status and hierarchy in social ladders, it is not a necessity for this aspect of the industry to progress.
Fur is a great accessory for visual pleasures as the material is a great contrast when making a bold statement in your outfit choice. On the other hand, when do we feel enough is enough when using precious lives for our own materialistic gain? With more research being done, the production of faux fur can improve and over time, gain better qualities that don’t harm our planet and animals, whereas the production of fur will always remain inhumane, cruel, and harmful to the environment.
I do not agree with pushing my opinions onto other people as my morals stand strong in allowing everyone the choice and freedom to make their own informed decisions, However, many factors need to be considered, such as the amount of plastic that sheds from a faux fur coat.
When it comes to either the use of faux fur or real fur, the main issue is surrounding education. While many people are aware that fur is not ethical, there is not an ongoing conversation around the environmental and chemically induced trauma to our planet. An increase of knowledge on this topic would help many people to think more deeply about where and why they are buying particular products.