Whilst it doesn’t seem long since we were shoving all things thick and warm to the back of our wardrobes in favour of all things skinny and mini, autumn is well and truly here and it is time to gear up for the big freeze of 2011.

Snuggling up in style doesn’t have to be a fashion-lovers worst nightmare though, especially considering fur is the headlining act this Fall/Winter. Seen on bags, hats, coats and a vast proportion of the runway outfits this season, it is hard to fault this winter-loving material; it is warm, comfortable and most importantly, incredibly sexy.

However, it also has a habit of leading many women into becoming werewolf-impersonating fashion victims. Therefore, Label Style has come up with the essential guide to wearing fur to ensure that this isn’t the case for the Loughborough Campus.

Fake for the Animal’s Sake

As gorgeous as real fur can look (Victoria Beckham and Naomi Campbell have been only to keen to prove this in recent years), the bottom line is that it is incredibly un-ethical. To make a fur coat, it requires:

10 – 12 beavers
10 – 15 wolves or coyotes
12 – 15 lynx
15 – 20 foxes
27 – 30 racoons
60 – 80 minks
60 – 100 squirrels

There is actually no reliable information on how many rabbits are killed annually for their fur across the globe, however 48 million animals are killed for their fur in total worldwide.

Furthermore, the majority of animals that are slaughtered for their fur are kept in cages where they often develop behavioural abnormalities induced by stress. This is only made worse by the inhumane causes of death such as gassing, neck breaking and anal electrocution.

The Humane Society of the United States investigated the widespread slaughter of domestic animals such as cat and dogs for the manufacturing of clothes and accessories in 1998, and found that the cats were strangled with wire nooses whilst the dogs were bludgeoned or bled to death.

For more information on this, go to: www.infurmation.com

On the Cheap

If the facts about real fur aren’t disgusting enough to put you off wearing it for life, then perhaps the price tag will. A rabbit-lined wool coat by Alexander McQueen is currently retailing at £3,995 whilst a 3.1 Phillip Lim Lynus rabbit iPad case costs £695. 

The student solution? Enter the godsend that is… faux fur.

Cheaper to produce, sell and infinitely more humane, garments are often made from synthetically produced fibres which are most commonly acrylic based.

With modern technology, faux fur can now replicate the quality of real fur in longhaired, plush, shaggy, animal print and short haired designs. If it is a good-quality product, it is generally difficult to distinguish between faux and real due to the painstaking quality of the manufacturing process.

This doesn’t mean it has to look cheap though, and it is possible to find good quality pieces in Topshop, River Island and ASOS to name but a few. Topshop’s coat buyer, Jenny Powell, claims that “fur just has to be sexy this season”.

In the Know

When looking for a fake fur item, make sure you check the label first to check what the cleaning instructions require. Generally, it is best to leave cleaning faux fur to the professionals; if worn regularly, send your beloved garment to the dry-cleaners every six to eight weeks. To keep it looking bright, dry cleaners often use a special texture solvent on faux fur.

To keep your faux fur garment in good condition, don’t get it wet and avoid friction. The contact with water will permanently damage the fabric fibres whilst the friction will permanently wear away the material. If you want to keep it in good condition, gently brush it with a soft clothes brush in the direction of the fur once a week.

Don’t Get Caught Out

Try to avoid brightly coloured fur, unless of course you want to resemble Cruella Deville at a carnival. Instead, stick to simple and subtle traditional colours that will remain timeless and classic.

It is always a good idea to check whether the fur is woven or knitted on. Although knitting the faux fur onto the garment is cheaper, it is often more susceptible to distortion and shedding, making woven the best way to go.

Make sure you feel the fur; as simple as it sounds, the more the faux fur feels like stroking an animal, the better quality it is likely to be. Only you will know which you like and how it makes you feel. Fur should be inspiring and sexy, so use your intuition when buying.

Most importantly, shop around. There are a lot of faux fur products on the market at the moment seeing as it is one of the biggest trends for Fall/Winter ’11. It is always a good idea to see what is out there, and explore the difficult textures and qualities within your budget.


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