Why do we have to give up fur and leather clothes, and what are the alternatives

    19 Oct 2021

    Ethical consumption is the result of consciousness. Usually, people don’t care what they wear is made from. But workers’ rights must be respected in production, and that production does not harm the environment and animals.

    Let’s read Anastasia Pokropivna, representative of the “Fur-free retail” campaign of the NGO “Open Cages,” an explanation of what ethical fashion is.


    Unethical materials are wholly or partially made from animals. These include fur, genuine leather, suede, nubuck, wool, cashmere, angora, pashmina, alpaca, natural silk.

    Ethical materials are synthetic or plant alternatives that do not come from animals. These include polyester, polyurethane, synthetic winterizer, acrylic, microfiber, fleece, artificial leather, faux fur, artificial suede, artificial nubuck, cotton, viscose, linen, bamboo, and others.

    Why does the world give up fur, leather, wool?

    Fur contaminates water. Animal waste contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus. Chemicals from farms contaminate local water systems by leaking into the soil and seeping into groundwater. Such volumes of nitrogen lead to a flowering of water and the death of fish.

    Fur pollutes the air. Harmful substances released during fur processing may include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, and heavy metals.

    Fur contaminates the soil. Animal farms produce a large amount of waste (manure, manure, urine), which reduces soil fertility. At high doses of manure, there is phosphating of soils and their contamination with heavy metals.

    Fur is inhumane. It is impossible to meet the basic needs of predators by keeping them in cages. To obtain intact fur, standard methods of killing wild animals are:

    • Electric current. Electric shock occurs through the mouth or anus of the animal;
    • Gas suffocation. A large number of animals are simultaneously thrown into a capsule, where they run the gas. There the animals die in spasms. This is a particularly cruel way of killing minks, semi-aquatic animals capable of long-term respiratory arrest.

    What are the alternatives?

    In the world, the fur industry kills 30 million animals a year. At the same time, it pollutes the environment and harms human health. According to PETA (“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”), the production of natural fur, leather, and wool is 20 times more toxic than the production of artificial materials. Fur and leather are treated with reagents containing cyanides, formaldehyde, and ammonia.

    In fact, modern technologies for the production of fabrics and insulation allow you to create things that are not inferior in quality to natural material and do not harm animals. A down jacket without fur and fur, which is not afraid of frosts, and summer sandals made of eco-leather are gradually displacing animal analogs from the wardrobes of city dwellers.

    The basis of ethical clothing can be things made of artificial materials obtained by chemical treatment (synthetic, acrylic, viscose, microfiber, fleece, artificial fur, suede, and nubuck) and vegetable raw materials (cotton, bamboo, linen). Some manufacturers sew clothes from recycled materials, which makes an additional contribution to the environment.

    Ethical clothing is made of entirely artificial or with the addition of plant materials, which do not contain components of animal origin and have no negative impact on the environment.

    Materials that can be called “ethical”:

    •       all materials of vegetable origin: cotton, flax;
    •       soybean silk – as the name implies, is made from soybean sprouts, very similar to natural silk;
    •       viscose, lyocell fiber derived from cellulose, breathable fabric;
    •       acrylic, polyester – synthetic fibers;
    •       artificial leather and fur.

    Ethical footwear is made of artificial leather and suede. There is a substance called “eco-leather.” It consists of polyurethane and cotton, no chlorine was used in its production, and no toxic substances were released during operation.

    Fashion without fur

    The fashion world gradually abandons materials of animal origin. Watching the fashion shows in London and Amsterdam, you can’t see the fur products. The Fur Free Retailer program was launched by the International Anti-Fur Coalition. Its purpose is to provide customers with verified information about the policy of fur stores, which will allow them to make informed and ethical choices.

    The online Fur Free Retailer list provides consumers accurate information about a retailer’s fur policy, allowing them to make an informed choice when shopping. The program specifically aims to encourage companies to go fur-free and further the spirit of ethical consumerism.

    More than 1,100 brands have abandoned the use of fur worldwide. Among them are Versace, Armani, Michael Kors, and Jimmy Choo.

    The world is gradually changing in the direction of reducing animal cruelty and suffering. And we can already see these changes!


    Are you interested in the ethical consumption topic? So check why vintage, second-hand, and upcycling are popular again here.

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