Fur or Faux: Labels faking it - AmericaNowNews.com

Fur or Faux: Labels faking it

If you have an article of clothing trimmed with fur, how do you know if its real or not?

Some people might think you could simply check the label, but it's not quite that easy. As technology improves and imported furs get cheaper, it's getting a lot harder to tell – no matter what the labels may read.

The fur or faux test is one that almost all fashion designers, sales clerks and shoppers fail.

Thanks to improvements in technology, it's harder to tells faux fur by the way it feels or its color.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), you also can't tell from the label.

Pierre Grzybowski works with the HSUS as the Research and Enforcement Manager of the Fur-Free Campaign.

"We found misrepresentation of fur at almost every price point, and at every retailer you could imagine," said Grzybowski.

From numerous undercover investigations, the HSUS has racked up a closet full of deceitful duds.

They found lots of coats labeled faux that are actually trimmed with real fur.

We found a jacket made mostly of fake fur, but the border trim came from a rabbit, coyote, or raccoon dog.

In most cases, it's the buyer's best guess because the true origin of the trim isn't specified on the tags.

"It's important to double-check whatever you buy to make sure you're really getting the fake fur that you want," Grzybowski warns. 

Here's what you need to do.

Start inside the store by taking a close look at the tips. If it's real fur, you'll notice the fibers taper to a fine point like an eyelash.

If it's faux, the ends are flat because they have been cut off by a machine.

"Now with fake fur, if you look at it from the back, it looks like carpet," Grzybowski says.

With real fur, you're literally going to have the skin of the animal behind it.

Once the pieces are sewn together and the garment is hanging on a store's rack, it's going to be extremely hard to tell the difference.  

If you don't mind a few funny looks while shopping, you can push the hairs apart.

Check to see if the strands are coming out of a scalp, or woven into a synthetic backing.

"It's not fair to consumers that they have to do this sort of thing in the store," Grzybowski says.

If you're already out of the store or you bought the garment online, take the garment to your household tool box.

Cut a few hairs and use a cigarette lighter to lightly torch the tip of the fibers. Then, take a good whiff.

When burned, faux fur will reek of burnt plastic, because that's what it's made of.

Real fur, on the other hand, will smell like burnt hair. When you roll it between your fingers, it crumbles into ash as opposed to the fake fur, which melts into a hard ball.

In addition to the HSUS, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also monitors manufacturers who create phony or inaccurate clothing labels.

"If it doesn't tell you what it is, what animal you're using, then we can bring suit against that company," says James Kohm, Associate Director of the FTC's Enforcement Division.

A new law called the Truth in Fur Labeling Act requires any garment with any amount of fur to state the species and country of origin directly on the label.

Until all the bogus fake fur has been removed off the racks, before you charge an article of clothing, take the time to find out if what you think you're buying is the real thing or not. 

Additional Information:

  • The purpose of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act (H.R. 2480) is to ensure accuracy and consistency in labeling fur-trimmed apparel. Since the 1950s, any fur garment sold in the U.S. has to include a label specifying the species and country of origin. However, this is not required for fur-trimmed garments valued at $150 or less. The original initiative behind the law was that fake fur was being sold as real fur. (Source: FTC)
  • Click here for a guide on identifying real versus fake fur products
  • Click here to read the Federal Trade Commission's stance on Fur Labeling.

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