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Fur Phenomenon: Fab or Drab?

Over a month ago, London fashion week was the first global clothing spectacle to ban the show of animal fur. It is clear that this is a split from the past, a break from the our “selfish” ways and the end of real fur’s heyday. The ethics surrounding fur has been re-iterated here in St Andrews with its eco-friendly atmosphere from societies like VeganSoc to our very own Green Week. However, more awareness needs to be raised not just ethically, but sustenance-wise. Is real fur in the climate of St. Andrews such a great idea? You’re sure to just destroy the material within seconds of the battering weather here.

This idea of sustenance also applies to a more common sight in St Andrews: the faux fur phenomenon. We are deceived into thinking it is a more ecological option, yet the problems are even more prevalent. Even in 1899, Harper’s Bazaar declared that “imitation fur is a dangerous investment.” Their statement rings all the more true today. The type of fur from high street brands like Zara, Topshop or H&M all make use of acrylic and modacylic polymers consisting of nylon and polyester.

Most do not know the consequences of such materials. In fact, they create high synthetic pollution when manufactured. Indeed, there are future downsides too, one of which is that they take many centuries for these materials to actually biodegrade. The chemicals actually used indressing and dyeing exacerbate these effects too.

More and more people clutch onto faux fur not only due to its inexpensivity, but because it is just simple easier to wash. By doing this, we are actually harming the environment with microfibers as a form of plastic pollution, which are released into the ocean. Where a polyester fleece can release up to a million microfibres when washed, I dread to think of how many are released if you wanted to dry clean your faux faux fleece or coat.

So what can we do to offer a solution to this problem and still keep warm in the winter months up here? Perhaps reduce the amount of times you wear it to enable sustainability and to make it simply last longer. It is common to see fur worn on a daily basis here in St Andrews. Although certain to keep you warm, it may be prone to rips and tears more easily, forcing you to buy another and disposing of the old one only to add to the pollution. Another option is that you could just not wear fur at all; there are many alternatives out there. A simple puffer may suffice and also adds a waterproof layer, something faux fur has never offered! It seems that if fur has not been favoured from some lines like Versace or Stella MacCartney from the start, and they have still managed to maintain a reputation for themselves.

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