We’ve seen an increase in the alternative use of Faux Furs not just in the UK but internationally too. The Faux Fur Institute in Paris has been fronting the cause to go faux for around two years and has successfully rallied troops of upcoming design students. These talented pupils are learning to work with the fabric with the support of Arnaud, the founder of Faux Fur Institute.
Students at Atelier Chardon Savard fashion school are introduced to the techniques of working with faux fur.
The Faux Fur Institute recently ran a competition to give financial support for students who were very interested to work with faux furs in their final collections. The winner of ‘Open Fur 2017’ was Sophie de Luca, a Masters student at Geneva University of Art and Design.
As well as an outstanding taste in faux fur fashion, Arnaud is incredibly passionate in his fight for using faux furs as an alternative to real fur. As a result he was featured on French TV shows France 5 and Demain, where he spoke about the history of real fur and the sometimes inhumane real fur farms.
We interviewed Arnaud about his work and predictions of the faux fur industry:
When did you create Faux Fur Institute?
I created the blog and the website in late 2015 - It is fairly new.
What inspired you to create Faux Fur Institute?
I just realised how huge the lack of information regarding faux fur was.
Most of the information regarding faux fur was provided either by NGOs or by the "real" fur industry. For that last source, needless to say the facts were systematically negative in order to break the competition we represent. My blog, the website, my social networks and all that I do now in collaboration with a selection of faux fur manufacturers, is not just a reaction. It is a mean to encourage and inspire change in the fashion world.
How do you think the Faux Fur market will change in the next 5 years?
Today, the only limits for many fashion labels to not use faux fur are purely psychological barriers. We all know the material is beautiful. If it is used by top luxury houses like Ralph Lauren and many more, it can be used in general. And we all know how life-friendly faux fur is. The good news is that those barriers are slowly falling apart so the faux fur market will ineluctably grow. Faux fur has the potential to become the new normal.
Do you believe the younger generations are more likely to wear faux or real fur?
I see opposing forces in action: some young people are really eco conscious and would never wear real furs while others have a very fickle approach to fashion and think very simple : "if it is beautiful I want it no matter what". That’s why it is interesting to have discussions with labels to encourage them to use faux fur if there’s got to be fur in their collection.
Have you seen much change in people’s opinions regarding the use of real fur in Paris and around the world?
Surely there has been a democratisation in the use of fur. It is everywhere and at a very cheap price: from pompoms, flip-flops, keyrings or even toys. Regarding people’s opinion on the question of real fur, most people are still very uncomfortable with it but they jumped on the bandwagon of the trend: in other words if the others wear it, they’ll wear it too. But when you talk to individuals they will admit that taking an animal’s life just to decorate a parka’s hood is irresponsible.
How have the faux fur workshops for fashion students affected how they view faux fur and what have they learnt?
I’ve had great discussions with the students. The first thing I told them is not to blindly believe what they have been told but to investigate and to always look for a bigger picture especially when it comes to faux fur, where there are significant prejudices. After our discussion they realise that faux fur is the real luxury. And the coolest part is that the discussion goes in so many directions from techniques to use, to new technologies, ecology, the fashion industry, the fast fashion issue, animals, cheap labor etc. Faux fur is such a great starter for discussion. At the end I always distribute faux fur samples to the students. Most of them coming from The Throw Company: they are amazed with the quality and are open to work with it if the opportunity arise.