Prada. Gucci. Stella McCartney. Armani. Burberry. Vivienne Westwood. Versace. Diane von Furstenberg. Michael Kors. Yoox Net-a-Porter. Selfridges. These are just some of the international luxury fashion retailers that have recently sworn off animal-fur products for good. It’s now faux fur that’s in fashion.
In Australia, local labels such as Aje, Aurelio Costarella, Bassike, Kit X, Camilla and Marc, Karla Špetić and Thurley – plus department store David Jones – recently announced they too will discontinue manufacturing or selling any products made from animals farmed for their fur.
The Fur Free Retailer program, which recognises and supports retailers committed to a no-fur policy, defines fur as “mink, coyote, sable, fox, muskrat, rabbit and raccoon dog”. It excludes leather, wool, fleece, sheep-skin and shearling.
Once associated with low-quality garments and fast fashion, fake fur (made from synthetic materials such as modacrylic and polyester) has improved in both quality and luxuriousness. But bear in mind that while faux-fur options are considered more ethical than their counterparts from an animal-cruelty perspective, many labels use cheap synthetic materials that can be hard to break down in landfill. Always check the label of a garment – or its online description – for the materials used, and do your research before purchasing.
With all this in mind, here are some cruelty-free, quality alternatives to shop from both local and international labels.
London-based designer Hannah Weiland founded British label Shrimps in 2013. It quickly gained a cult following – and proved faux fur could be cool. With a diploma in surface textile design from the London College of Fashion, Weiland’s whimsical garments are informed by modern art, with bright colours, intricate patterns and varied textures. The vibrant colours take the pretense out of fur, and the label works with cutting-edge technology to create vegan fabrics that don't bleed and will last season after season.
The Hunter jacket (on sale now for $475) is available in a head-turning green faux-fur velveteen. The cropped style and slim fit works well paired with high-waisted trousers. The opulent Pyrus coat in black, which has recently been restocked (and is on sale for $595), is also worth a look. Drawing on a classic ’60s silhouette with a flattering A-line cut and rounded Peter Pan-style collar, it’ll style well with the Antonia beaded bag (reduced to $600).
In Australia you can shop the label online, or at Shifting Worlds in Melbourne’s CBD.
Founded in Melbourne in 2014 by Danielle Pelly and Tim Wilkins, this minimalist womenswear label has come a long way since its early days trading out of a South Melbourne Market stall. Today it has 85 stockists across Australia.
Its ’60s-style Curly minimalist jacket ($349) is made from a dusty pink, curly faux-fur fabric. The laid-back style and exaggerated lapels lend this jacket to daytime dressing, adding attitude to a jeans-and-sneaker combo, but it can also be dressed up with chunky heeled boots. Pull it all together with a pair of fun sunglasses.
It’s hard to find a good ocelot print. Some variations are too orange, or the spots are too exaggerated. This comfortable Camille statement coat ($456) from Scandinavian label Stand, founded by Kellie Kamras in 2014, is the perfect print. Made from a plush faux fur, it’s fully lined, which helps protect you the cold. And the generous fit means it won’t suffocate you when layered over chunky knitwear. The print is also strong enough to be worn on its own as an effortless, stand-alone outfit - wear your thermals underneath and you’ll still make a statement. But to really make an impact, style it with contrasting prints and patterns.
Swedish stylist Elin Kling and her husband Karl Lindman (former design director of Interview Magazine) founded the luxurious womenswear label Toteme in 2014. The pair specialise in elevated basics, from well-cut shirting to refined ribbed singlets.
At 50 per cent off on Net-a-Porter, Toteme’s Châtel jacket ($426) is high on our winter-shopping wish-list. Named after the snow-capped commune in the French Alps, it’s a good option for weekends away skiing, and warm enough to be thrown over a crisp white T-shirt and jeans.
Inspired by the Australian outdoors, this men’s and women’s label has released an oversized Marci bomber ($129) in a shiny, soft faux fur.
Wear yours over knitwear paired with high-waisted flared trousers, high-rise jeans, flowy culottes or high-shine leather skirts. The Aspen ($99) – an aviator/biker-style jacket with a shearling collar – is another good option.
Honourable, farewell-savings mention
Faz Not Fur’s Camel Crop Teddy for $1,150.