Finding Good Faux Furs

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With winter around the corner, finding the warmest fashionable outerwear is an absolute must! Fur has been used as clothing throughout history by those who seek to best protect themselves from the harshest of winter elements.

Throughout the years, fur has remained in fashion due to its durability, warmth and status symbol essence. Faux fur was first introduced in 1929, but it didn’t become commercially available until the 1950s. Since the 1980s, ethical questioning of the use of animal products for fashion has helped evolve the popularity of using faux fur today. Animal rights activists such as PETA and countless celebrities have shed light on the fur industry, highlighting animal cruelty, and this discussion has created a place in fashion for faux fur.

There are several advantages to faux. Fake fur is a fabric and therefore is easier to sew. The use of the faux fibers prevents deterioration and makes it impervious to moths. This also means faux furs do not require cold storage. The energy consumption for the production of one faux fur coat is one-third that of producing the real thing, and it’s not an animal product.

Regardless of your reasons for wearing faux fur, there are a few tricks to finding the good ones. Aside from choosing a faux piece that speaks to your fashion sensibilities, it is important to select high-quality faux fur. Finding something that is well made is key, as not all faux items look and feel the best. Here are a few tips to think about while shopping faux, since not all fauxs are created equal:

Actually touching an item is the first way to check for quality according to how soft it feels. The lower-quality items feel uncomfortable and often scratchy, while the higher-quality pieces will remain softer.

Elasticity is related to touch through looking to see how quickly the fibers return to their original shape after being touched. A low-quality faux fur will not bounce back, whereas a high-quality faux will immediately go back to its original form.

Reading the label is the final step to ensuring the purchase of a high-quality faux fur. The label will list the materials used in creating the item. Acrylic is the most common material used in making faux fur; however; there are many forms of acrylic. The best acrylic fibers for faux fur are kanecaron and tissavel; finding those on the label is gold.

Beyond these initial steps of touching and reading the label, guaranteeing that the faux fur is absolutely artificial is extremely important, especially if you are thrifting or shopping vintage. There are a few simple tricks to make certain the item is a reproduction and not the real thing. These three tips and three tricks will allow you to guarantee the purchase of a high-quality faux fur.

All about the Base
To make certain the fashion piece is faux, first separate the fibers and look at the base. In general, faux fur has a mesh or a threaded backing.

Tips Show the Truth
This step means looking at the tips of the fibers. Faux fur does not typically taper at the ends as real hair does.

Burn, Baby, Burn
Finally, only if you’ve already purchased the piece, you can do a burn test by removing a few fibers. The test involves holding the fibers with tweezers over a nonflammable surface and lighting them with a lighter; the scent will tell you everything. If they burn it will smell like melting plastic, since faux is usually made from acrylic fibers.

There are some fabulous fashion brands known for good faux furs. One of this year’s favorites includes Zara. For years, Zara has designed the softest faux furs that hit the fashion trends at affordable prices. The fashion label ASOS has put forth luxurious faux furs that can often be mistaken as or the real thing because of the high quality of the acrylic materials used. The British brand Topshop puts forth high-quality fauxs, as does Hannah Weiland’s Shrimps, whose collections include faux patchwork shearlings, floral-printed faux fur coats and warm, fashionable accessories. American designer Donna Salyers launched Fabulous Furs 26 years ago, and today this fashion pioneer creates a wide range of artistic pieces for the most discriminating fashionista.

Throughout history, the practicality of fur has provided the warmest option for outerwear, and it remains a key part of fashion today. With the quest to keep fashion animal friendly and good for the environment, designers and the industry have evolved and created the most luxurious faux furs available. With this knowledge of tips and tricks and knowing the best fashion brands, your search to find a high-quality faux fur this fall should be a breeze! ■

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