From legislation bans on fur to the use of more animal-friendly alternatives. We explore the top reasons retailers have gone faux and why the trend will be a mainstay in winter buys for seasons to come.
As previously mentioned in our Veganuary report, more luxury brands are removing fur from their collections as consumers shift towards a more ethical lifestyle. The growing demand for alternative fabrics have urged many brands to seek faux fur options to cater to this movement.
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1. Luxury designers are using it
Over the past few years, an increasing number of designers opted for faux instead of real fur. Most notably, brands include Prada, Gucci, Burberry and Versace. Luxury online retailers, Net-a-Porter and Farfetch, have also ditched the real deal to align with ethical and sustainability goals.
Across the Fall 2019 season, faux fur took one of three trend directions – grunge, nostalgic glamour and kitsch. At Moschino and Versace, looks were punk-rock inspired with shaggy fur and leopard prints. Elsewhere, full-length coats were favored by Stella McCartney, while Christian Siriano drew inspiration from the 70s to create a more sophisticated aesthetic.
2. It’s celebrity & influencer approved
Bella Hadid made headlines earlier this year when she stepped out in a Michael Kors faux fur coat. More recently, singers such as Rosalia and Jorja Smith donned the trend at festivals, making a case for faux fur during the summer months. Last year, Kim Kardashian announced that she had switched to faux, after being criticized on numerous occasions by anti-fur groups.
Fluffy and fuzzy textures have also made the rounds on Instagram with ‘It’ girls such as Lucy Williams and Vanessa Hong backing the trend. Going faux has even gotten the royal tick of approval, as Buckingham Palace recently announced the Queen of England will no longer sport real fur.
3. Overall arrivals are growing
Total arrivals in the UK and US are up 4% when comparing the last three months to the same period in 2018. The US is the top region backing the trend, with faux fur arrivals seeing an 11% increase YoY. Boohoo (UK), Debenhams (UK) and Forever21 (US) are the top three investors of faux fur.
Looking at outerwear arrivals in each region, the category has grown by 10% in the US and 3% in the UK. The average full price for a faux fur coat arriving this Fall season is $132.17 in the US and £69.65 in the UK. Tops in the US saw the largest jump in arrivals, increasing by 50% compared to the previous year. However, in the UK, this category remained steady YoY.
It’s headlining retailer’s communications
The banning of real fur has been widely reported in recent media. As of October, California became the first state to ban the sale and production of animal fur products. The legislation came after major cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco adopted the ban, which naturally sparked consumer interest surrounding faux fur.
Retailers swiftly reacted to demand with mentions of faux fur and related terms such as ‘faux shearling’, ‘teddy’ and ‘borg’ increasing by 9% YoY. A large number of retailers pushed faux fur product edits, while Missguided and Esprit highlighted the trend on their respective homepages. The fabric was also commonly featured in outerwear edits.
5. The rise of veganism & sustainability
Faux fur feeds into the demand for animal-free clothing as seen already in footwear and leather. However, the sustainable credentials of faux fur are debated, as brands often opt to use plastic-based fabrics such as polyester and acrylic. This can ignite the argument that real fur is actually more sustainable. As seen at Zara and H&M, recycled variations of synthetic fabrics can act as a ‘catch-all’ for retailers looking to attract the conscious consumer.
The pioneer of sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney debuted a world first during fashion week with the introduction of a plant-based faux fur coat. The fabric, Koba, is crafted from a mix of a corn byproduct and recycled polyester, which combines high-quality material and a low carbon footprint. The designer is hoping to launch the range of outerwear in 2020.
Designers are yet to find the perfect solution to faux fur and alternative options are not widely available. However, it is important to note the fashion industry’s progress in moving away from the use of real fur altogether and eco-friendly innovations in production.
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