Faux fur may be one of the biggest fashion trends of the season, but here’s something pretty unsettling: Some of the fake fur on shelves is actually real animal fur that’s been mislabeled.
The “Today” show’s “Rossen Reports” team underwent an investigation that found that some of the countries biggest retailers including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, Belk, Jacadi and Gilt Groupe are selling clothing items that include real fur including rabbit, coyote and raccoon dog advertised as faux.
A Cluny sweater the Rossen team purchased from Nordstrom Rack advertised online as a “faux fur trim silk bamboo blend sweater” turned out to be dyed rabbit fur. A Michael Kors coat purchased from Belk online, and advertised as having a “tailored faux fur collar” arrived in the mail with a tag labeling it as real fur. And those are just some of the examples the team came across.
This isn’t the first time retailers have come under fire for this type of thing: Last year the Federal Trade Commission blasted Neiman Marcus for marketing real fur products as fake fur.
According to the Fur Products and Labeling Act, items that contain real fur must not only be labeled as real fur, but list the animal species, and the animal’s country of origin.
So, why do brands do this to begin with? “Some of the good faux furs can be more expensive to use when making jackets or other garments than low-quality animal fur,” Pierre Gryzbowski, who runs the fur-free campaign of the Humane Society of the United States, explained to “Today.” “They may use animal fur just because it’s cheaper.”
Here, some tips to decipher if the fur you’re buying is real or faux:
1. Don’t go by softness alone. Softness doesn’t equal real fur, some fake fur is actually softer than the real thing.
2. If the tip of the fur’s hair tapers to a fine point (like a cat’s whisker), it’s animal fur, not faux.
3. Want to do the ultimate test? Burn a few sample hairs. If it smells like human hair, its real animal fur, but if it smells like chemicals, its faux.