If you’re like me, you are inspired by all things nature: the beautiful sights, sounds, smells and textures of the natural landscapes and ecosystems around us. It’s all absolutely breathtaking! So when it comes to animals and their unique shapes, colors, and patterns evolution graced them with, it’s no wonder human kind has been inspired by them for centuries. Unfortunately, what’s initially an inspiration sharply turns into an exploitation. Humans historic use of animals has been ugly, and with population growth at its’ sharpest incline it’s getting even uglier. Whether you are for or against the consumption of meat for our nutritional purposes, you can’t deny the inhumane treatment of them for the mass distribution of food (think factory farms) and the cruel and greedy use of their parts for decor, fashion and status symbols (many being unconscious mimicry of archaic traditions). Yet alternatives are hard to find and sometimes faux pieces can also be harmful to the environment and the species living in it. When looking for an ethical alternative to fur try to stay away from most pieces made out of polyester/nylon, a synthetic fibre that takes decades to decompose and is toxic for the environment. Synthetic fibers also take more energy to produce than natural materials. Keep your eye out for fake fur, leather, feathers and/or prints made out of recycled plastic (PET fiber) and/or natural fibres such as hemp, cork and other cellulose materials. Hard to imagine? There are a few conscious collections whose sustainable fashion is helping to take a stand against animal abuse (and making a major fashion statement while doing so) like Hemp HoodLamb whose warm, fuzzy coats are made out of hemp! You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. EcoCork makes awesome handbags out of the renewable resource cork! It resembles tanned leather and cleans easier than leather or suede. Stella McCartney has a line of cork purses as well that are super eco-chic. 7 for All Manking and Marc Jacobs use waxed cotton often on products to resemble leather. This is the best alternative for your faux leather pants, another being polyurethane (which is a good alternative, but still isn’t the most eco-friendly). Try shopping vintage and second-hand so you don’t directly influence the demand of animal products for fashion.
Fur Real?: The Ethical Debate of Fur vs Faux