Is Faux Fur Actually Real? The 'Today Show' Reveals Not All is as Fake as it Seems

In this gradually more eco-conscious and humane world, the choice between wearing real or faux fur is a delicate one, made even more so by the revelation that even faux fur isn't so virtuous. The Today Show's Rossen Reports made sartorial waves on Friday when the segment’s crew uncovered the fact that a number of renowned retailers and designers marketed real fur wares as “faux fur”. Gilt Groupe, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack were amongst the targets of the review, and each was found to sell designer labels that surreptitiously used real animal fur in items characterized as faux fur. The items were tested at Chicago-based laboratory Microtrace. Kate Middleton-favored brand Aquatalia, Michael Kors, and Cluny were each found guilty of using real fur.

What ensued after The Today Show’s radical discovery was a harried round of passing the buck, Womens Wear Daily reports. Neiman Marcus placed culpability back on Aquatalia; Nordstrom claimed that the store’s inclusion of a Cluny fur sweater labeled as faux was simply an online editorial mistake; and Belk cited “a clerical error” in the description of a Michael Michael Kors coat which was found to contain real fur. Mistakes do happen, even in the high stakes world of fashion retail, but the probability of five items from separate designers sold at distinct nationwide retailers, each oblivious to the presence of real fur is somewhat unlikely. It seems ludicrous to assume that designers and retailers have some sort of contract in place wherein retailers will look the other way if real fur is occasionally used in place of fake, but Rossen Reports does demonstrate a serious count of negligence on the part of both retailers and designers.

Condemning a website copywriter or a manufacturer for a miscommunication doesn’t simply absolve anyone from responsibility; either designers and retailers alike have become negligent when it comes to inspecting products, or they’re aware of the substitution and think their consumers won’t notice the difference. Neither situation paints a particularly virtuous picture of the fashion industry, especially given the lengths that some will go in order to wear humane, cruelty-free wares. When errors as monumental as mislabeling a product's components occur, the responsibility is purely that of the company as a whole.

So the next time someone attempts to throw paint on your plush faux-fur vest, tell them to aim the pigment at the designers who claimed the item was produced in a humanitarian fashion.

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