Faking the Fakes

I often catch the last ten minutes or so of “Fake Britain” when I start to get settled after doing the washing up and just before the start of University Challenge. I don’t usually pay attention to it – I’m not much of a fan of consumer programmes as a rule. But this one made me stop and watch carefully.

I dislike real fur – except on the creature it originates from – so an expose on fake faux fur looked interesting. The programme took four anoraks with a trim which was advertised as fake fur – one of which was very similar to the one I doubt I’ll be wearing much longer – and had the trim microscopically examined by a specialist zoologist*. The results were revelatory. ALL of the four trims were made from real fur, in particular raccoon, rabbit, fox and dog. Yes, next door’s pet labrador could soon be on a raincoat near you. Unbelievably, the fake fur has been faked with the real stuff!

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. After a careful fondle of the fur trim on the hood of my coat (I’m 90% sure it’s fake, it’s got a distinctly synthetic feel to it when compared with the dog) I have resolved never to buy anything with any kind of fake fur trim ever again, just in case. Two of the coats came from reputable High Street stores who, it appears, were themselves misled by their suppliers. Unsurprisingly, Trading Standards are taking the whole thing incredibly seriously and will be conducting their own investigations.

The moral of this story appears to be that if you care at all for animal welfare – and especially if you are vegetarian or vegan – there is no place in your wardrobe even for fake fur, unless you have specialist training in identifying fur and fibres, which I suspect the overwhelming majority do not. Without wishing to get into the politics of whether fur, fake or not, ought to be worn at all, this is a fraud designed to make money from those with a conscience and to me is even more reprehensible for that.

I have to admit that I found it interesting, in its own appalling way, in an industry where margins are exceptionally tight and profits are everything, it is now cheaper to quite literally skin a cat in the name of fashion than to do the right thing and use a synthetic. Perhaps the luxury has now finally gone out of the fur coat once and for all. Either way, this report was a genuine shock to me and will be, I believe, to many others as well.

* Although he might have been a vet, I missed that bit.

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