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Real or Faux?

Donna Salyers inspects rolls of faux fur fabric

Faux fur jackets, coats and accessories... is it fur or is it faux? While traveling from Canada back to the USA, my luggage was detained by Customs agents, certain that the faux fur coat samples spilling from my trunk were actually animal furs lacking proper country-of-origin documentation. When I pointed to the knit backing inside each coat, the agents quickly realized their mistake and I rushed to my flight.

On a similar but separate occasion, we were amazed to read a Boston Globe story describing a courier, delivering a full-length White Mink Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Fur to Queen Silvia of Sweden, being detained by Canadian Customs, believing the faux fur was a $20,000 animal fur lacking proper documentation.

Faux furs are increasingly authentic and about this time each year, there’s public outrage at retailers selling animal fur, falsely labeled as faux. Retailers claiming innocence by ignorance should draw equal outrage and here’s why:

  • Faux fur consists of fibers knitted into a backing.
  • Animal fur is the leather-like skin of an animal with the fur still attached.
  • Cutting open a garment will quickly reveal a knitted backing when it’s faux or a suede-like skin when it’s animal fur. No retail merchant worth his salt can be fooled.

Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying and activists such as the HSUS have done a great job in identifying retailers who persist in falsely advertising as faux, animal fur trims and garments that are actually dog and cat fur. So what’s a consumer to do?

Buy from trusted sources.
At Fabulous-Furs, we sew about 60% of our products in our Covington, Kentucky design workroom. We travel abroad to meet with trusted, reputable fabric suppliers as well as those from whom we buy finished products. It’s inconceivable that a retailer sells animal fur without total awareness.

Does it pass the sniff test?
Animal fur may have a “wet dog” odor.

Does it pass the touch test?
Animal fur may have a stiff base that occurs with inferior tanning.

Check the backing or underside.
Turn back the lining; a cloth-like underside means faux. A leather or suede-like underside means animal fur.

I hope this helps on future faux fur purchases!

Best Wishes,
Donna