Faux fur versus real fur: a battle of the ages
To fur or not to fur, that is the question. Although the debate around faux fur and real fur is not a new one, 2017 has seen some big moves from the fashion industry with Net-a-Porter announcing its plans to go fur-free, along with big brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren. But despite the cruelty-free decisions made by some of fashions most powerful brands, street style on the fashion month circuit proved that real fur isn't going anywhere any time soon. And now the battle between mink and fake has a big prize involved; millennials. Business of Fashion reports that the Gen-Y demographic holds a lot of power when it comes to the future of fur, with both sides banking on young people to see each of their industries boom.
Earlier this year when Gucci made the decision to go fur-free, Marco Bizzarri told BoF: "It's not modern... It's a little bit out-dated." According to Yvonne Taylor, senior manager of corporate projects at PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) young people are more interested than ever in being ethically minded and knowing where a product comes from, which bodes well for Gucci, with millennials accounting for more than half of the brands market. The faux-fur market is up 2 percent from 2012 to 2016 with new technologies making the product as luxurious and soft as real fur. Brands such as Shrimps have discovered ways to make faux leather from pineapples and faux fur from recycled plastics.
However, according to Thomas Salomon, general manager of Yves Salomon who has been crafting fur for Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier since the 1920s, faux fur is worse-off for the environment than the real thing due to production processes involving plastics and non-renewable materials. "When you say [fur] isn't modern, you only have to look at all the girls like Rihanna wearing it today," he told BoF; which is incredibly true to an extent - millennial It-girls including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, Cara Delevigne and Adwoa Aboah have all walked down Fendi's furry runways.
"Our future is bright because of millennials," Charlie Ross, head of international marketing and sustainability at Saga Furs told BoF. Fur has moved well beyond the mink coat; many of Fendi's cult fur-lined accessories (we're talking about you, bag bugs) have sold out before they even hit stores with month-long wait lists. Ross sees millennials as "the missed generation," whose mother's didn't buy fur, but their grandmothers did. Online sales in fur have - according to Ross - increased by 30 percent in one year.
Which way will you fur, millennials? The ball is in your court.
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