Going Faux With Fur: Brands Turn To Ethical, Cruelty-Free Fashion

Nov 21, 2017
Originally published on November 21, 2017 1:44 pm

If you haven’t seen it already, you will: the faux fur craze that is taking over retailers at all price points this season. Long, short, colorful and spotted cruelty-free fashion is in.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Kym Canter, CEO and creative director of House of Fluff, about her decision to create a faux fur brand.

Interview Highlights

On growing up a fur aficionado

“I was fur lover, you know, many years ago — had loved the glamour of fur, I grew up with fur being a very glamorous item that was very desirable at a luxury level. I had 26. I’d also worked for a fur company.”

On her change of heart

“Well, it’s not really lovely. It’s not really lovely when you understand where it comes from and how it’s made. And that became more and more the issue for me. Why sacrifice my ethics for beauty? I mean, it is beautiful, but it’s not beautifully made.”

On selling her furs and starting House of Fluff

“You know, I’ve been in fashion for a long time. I wanted to make a new brand. I was interested in what fashion means to the next generation, and I realized that I had felt increasingly uncomfortable in my own furs. And since there was really no reason to make another white shirt or black skirt, I realized if I felt that way, there were probably a lot of other young women that also feel that way, and with no alternative, we launched House of Fluff.”

On what sets House of Fluff’s faux furs apart

“I mean, I haven’t seen the coats, but I believe that they’re cruelty-free products, but a lot of those fur products are made in China, and they’re made in countries that don’t have regulation for the factories. So they can be polluting the environment in very terrible ways. And a lot of those furs have a lot of different chemical compounds in them, and they actually don’t feel very good. They’re also made in factories that may not pay the workers a fair wage.

“So ours, the House of Fluff faux fur, comes from a mill in Italy, which is completely regulated. So although the fur itself does have some polyester in it, it’s made — and it doesn’t kill any animals, it’s cruelty free, same with the vegan leather that we use — it’s at least coming from a country that is very careful about a certain protocol that factories, as far as polluting, must follow. We also make our product here in New York City and in a fair-trade factory.”

On the ethics of the clothing industry

“I mean, the real issue is, you have to start thinking, ‘You know, if something can cost $40 or $20, you know, at a Zara or an H&M, where was that made, and the person that made that, what were they being paid?’ And I think the ethics really go beyond just killing animals. You have to look at the human experience.”

On sustainability

“Our goal is to have as low a carbon footprint as possible and to be a zero-waste company. So, we even take the scraps from the factory floor and craft them into little collectible characters we call Scrappys. And we also put the Scrappy faces on organic cotton sweatshirts. So we try to use as much as possible. I mean, we even make our own garment bags out of cotton muslin and are looking to do that with a women’s co-op in Costa Rica.”

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