There can be a debate amongst some when comparing real fur vs fake fur.
Some people want to know which is better and more ethical to consume and/or wear.
In this guide, we provide an overview of which one might be better across a few different aspects.
Summary – Real Fur vs Faux Fur: Differences, & Which Is Better & More Ethical
The main difference between real fur and faux fur is that real fur is an animal by product, whilst faux fur does not come from the fur of animals, but instead synthetic chemicals.
Real fur vs faux fur is really a trade off, with neither being perfect…
With real fur, you are potentially putting animal welfare at risk where animals are either farmed or trapped (usually) for their fur. But, a real fur product is usually more breathable, lasts longer and is better quality (plus it usually biodegrades quicker, and can usually be recycled).
With faux fur, the animal welfare and cruelty concerns aren’t there upfront. But, faux fur is made from petrochemicals/plastic acrylics which are ultimately not sustainable, and have their own issues with environmental pollution via the production process, and microplastic break down. Cheap faux fur may also not be as breathable, and may not be as durable or as recyclable as real fur. Faux fur does have the benefit as a synthetic material as being better able to be customised and designed for different features, qualities and appearances.
It will be interesting to see if faux fur technology progresses to the point where synthetic fibres can be made from bio based sources or from lab grown sources – which would remove the need for petrochemical based substances.
Rather than purchasing fur or fake fur, consumers might look at plant or wood based fibres like organic cotton or a closed loop produced lyocell or modal as alternatives.
Another option is to buy high quality, buy less in general, and buy second hand or re-use where possible.
Real Fur vs Faux Fur: Differences
- Real fur is made from real animal fur from animal raised on fur farms, or from animals that have been trapped. Faux fur is made from plastic based polymer petrochemicals, and attached to a material base (such as polyester)
- Real fur can have animal cruelty and animal welfare issues on farms and with trapping or hunting techniques
- Faux fur can have environmental problems with production and disposal
- Real fur might be more natural looking, more breathable, more durable, more expensive, biodegrade better, and recyclable
- Faux fur might be less breathable, but more customisable, available in a wider range of appearances, and more affordable. Some faux furs will be higher quality, while some are cheaper and lower quality
- Faux fur can have issues with mislabelling – when shipped overseas from China to the US for example – there have been issues in the past with supply chain transparency where real fur or another material has been labelled as faux fur
- Faux fur may have a good long term potential in terms of overall quality and ethics if technology can develop to the point that petrochemical based substances don’t need to be used, and more sustainable and renewable fibres can be used
Ultimately, different companies manufacture and offer different fur or faux fur based products with differing levels of quality/features, ethics and eco and animal friendliness associated with their production.
It’s worth researching a company before buying their product to understand how they source and manufacture it, and what the finished product looks and feels like.
Read More About Real Fur, & Faux Fur
- Real Fur – Is It Ethical, & Eco Friendly?
- Faux Fur – Is It More Ethical, Eco Friendly & Animal Friendly/Vegan