Is your fake fur REALLY fake? Tips to make sure!
Year after year after year, we see news reports about real fur being sold with a label implying--or outright stating--that it is fake.
'As soon as I touched it I felt something wasn't right,' she said.'I've got a cat, and it reminds me of when I cuddle her. It wasn't the way a faux fur pom-pom should feel.' (TK Maxx and Amazon among shops selling real fur as faux, BBC News, 14 November 2018)
...multiple retailers have been found to be selling items with real fur masquerading as fake and the Humane Society thinks there could be more. One key piece of advice was for shoppers to be discerning whatever the colour of the items as fur can be dyed a multitude of colours.' ('Beware of real fur masquerading as fake even if it is dyed a bright colour,' campaigners say, The Evening Standard, 20 January 2019)
Humane Society International/UK researchers bought 11 items [...]They included £30.48 “vegan faux fur” slippers from Boho Styles, which were made of fur, most likely from foxes. A £10.99 pullover and a £2.49 keychain from Shein also wrongly claimed to be fake fur... (Shoppers being sold 'fake fur' that is actually real in 'ongoing scandal', The Mirror, 16 December 2020)
It appears that this is not a problem that will be going away any time soon--in fact, it appears to be on the increase. People are misled by false labels and sometimes, by false beliefs about the supposed expense of fur--if this hat is cheap, that fur trim can't be real, right? The truth is that outside of a designer label or a full fur coat, fur can practically be had for pennies nowadays--often for less than fake fur! The success of anti-fur campaigns forced the industry not to end but to transform, attempting to boost its sales by adding little bits of fur to coats and other clothing as purely ornamental trim.
Don't fall for this – it may be only a little fur, but it still represents the painful existence of the animal who died for it and may actually be a major part of the sales that fueled their death. For example, the majority of fox fur is now used purely as "just a little trim", and analysts predict that soon, the number of animal pelts used for trim will actually outnumber those used for full coats!
What can you do, then, when you find a something you'd like to buy but can't tell whether the fur is real or not?
There are a few easy ways to figure it out:
Feel the fur. Real fur is very soft and will roll between your fingers. Fake fur tends to be a little coarser, like the fur on a stuffed animal. Real fur tends to taper at the ends; fake fur does not.
If you can, push a pin through the base of the fur. If it is real, it will have a pale, leather backing and will be harder to push through. Fake fur will have a fabric backing.
Blow on the fur so that it separates. If it is real, you will likely be able to see layers of soft, almost wooly fur through which longer hairs protrude, and as said previously, the backing will be leather. Fake fur is generally one simple layer of nearly identical hairs.
If you already own the item, pluck a couple of hairs from the fur, and set them on fire. Real fur will singe just like human hair, and smell similar. Fake fur will melt, smell like burning plastic, and form into little balls at its end.