Faux fur is quite simply fake fur. Today, this material is a popular alternative to real fur. Some representations are so like the appearance of real fur that it can be hard to tell the difference.
This was not always the case. Early faux fur was often thought of as cheap or shoddy, and quite easy to separate from the “real thing.” People who could not afford true fur might choose a fake version to copy styles they could not afford. It was often associated with the lower classes.
Today, many love faux fur because it means no animal has been raised and killed for the purpose of fashion. While there are still many who love real furs, this number has steadily declined. Major designers, who once worked with real fur only, often are pressured by organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to switch to fake furs instead. Many have felt PETA has valid points or out of their own conviction feel that there’s no need to use animals to provide fur garments.
The best faux fur tends to be made of fine acrylic fibers. Acrylic can be dyed to represent the colors and patters of real animals. This material can give a certain amount of warmth to a garment, but it will not be as warm as real fur.
On the other hand, there are actually few weather conditions that call for the wearing of real fur. Even in cold and snowy weather, faux fur jackets with appropriate padding and lining are likely to provide adequate warmth. The only areas on earth where fur might be more necessary are the extreme North, as in Alaska and Siberia, and the extreme South, as in the Antarctic continent. Even in these areas, new synthetic materials are often preferred to fur.
In some ways faux fur has been used for numerous years on quite recognizable objects. Most stuffed animals have fake fur, mostly acrylic. One exception in make is the very beautiful and expensive Steiff stuffed animals. Their fur is often made of a cotton/wool blends and they use few synthetic fabrics.
This material is also a popular trim on shoes, women’s lingerie, decorative pillows, rugs, and as accents to clothing. The quality can vary, so look for fur that when stroked does not release a lot of its hairs.
Also, some fashion trends have reflected making faux fur look quite fake. It may be dyed in very bright colors and have very long fibers or loops. This may be fun to wear or may also be worn as a statement that the fur is indeed fake.