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Fashion Retailers Allegedly Sold ‘Faux Fur’ Items Made With Real Fur
By Mikelle Leow, 21 Jan 2019
A ‘Faux Fur’ jumper from e-retailer Boohoo that was found to contain real fur most likely from a rabbit. Images via Boohoo
Conscious shoppers might have to treat claims about items being made from “faux fur” with extra discretion. UK’s advertising watchdog has called out retailers for marketing products containing real animal fur as if they were manufactured with artificial fur.
Earlier this month, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered for online fashion retailer Boohoo to tweak “misleading” advertising relating to a ‘Faux Fur Pom Pom Jumper’. Tests by animal rights nonprofit Humane Society International (HSI) revealed that it contained real fur, most likely to have been extracted from a rabbit.
Notably, Boohoo had always emphasized its strong stance against the sale of real fur, and that “robust” policies were put in place to deliver on its promise. According to the BBC, however, Boohoo recorded that the offending apparel had passed its internal inspections to not contain animal fur.
Boohoo also defended that the jumpers came from a supplier who was “aware of Boohoo’s commitment against the sale of real fur and had signed a supplier acknowledgement form committing to not supplying products containing real fur.”
Aside from removing the deceiving “faux fur” claim, the e-retailer said it has ceased taking orders from this supplier.
As part of its ongoing investigation, the HSI later turned its attention to a ‘Zac’s Alter Ego Faux Fur Pom Pom Headband’ from Zacharia Jewellers, a retailer on Amazon. In its analysis, the HSI discovered that the accessory also contained real fur, despite being labeled to have been made with faux fur.
While real fur was traditionally deemed a luxury resource, it can occasionally be cheaper than faux fur, the BBC notes. Fox, rabbit, and raccoon fur are some of the materials often marketed as artificial.
The ASA has ordered for both Boohoo and Zacharia Jewellers to take immediate action on the deceptive advertising by 11 February 2019. It is worth noting that Boohoo has deleted the ‘Faux Fur’ jumpers from its website, but a version of the listing can still be viewed via a cached copy by Google.
The discoveries have compelled UK’s Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP)—which sets rules on advertising practices—to deliver an enforcement notice warning retailers to stop misleading consumers.
While lab tests are the most accurate methods to detect clothing for real animal leather or fur, the CAP adds that consumers and retailers can practice discernment by checking the base material of a product to see if it’s a natural leather or woven fabric. Samples of fur products can be burned to see if they singe or melt.
The CAP further stresses that it is not debating the ethics of animal fur as a consumer product, since it is legal in the UK. Instead, the organization frowns upon misleading advertising claims of products being made with “faux fur” that turn out to contain animal fur.
Claire Bass, executive director of the HSI, also says that customers have “the right to be confident that when they buy faux fur, they are not being duped into buying the exact animal cruelty they are trying to avoid.”
A ‘Faux Fur’ pom pom headband that was found to be made with animal fur. Image via Zacharia Jewellers
[via BBC, images via various sources]
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