Faux fur, which is otherwise known as synthetic fur, has been thrown into the limelight for some time now in the fashion industry as well as in the circles of the animal rights activists who have made it the subject of much attention. Faux fur was invented as an alternative for real animal fur.
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It has so far cut a niche among the fabrics in the fashion and design sector, which is a booming business in the world. Is faux fur responsible for the rebirth of the highly coveted real fur to the fashion industry?
Does it suffice to refer those who prefer faux fur fashion as animal haters? What animal cruelty aspects are involved in the process? These three questions will form a basis for this research about faux fur in a bid to determine whether it is responsible for the rebirth of the highly coveted real fur to the fashion industry. I have chosen this subject because I have always considered fur unique.
However, there is an attachment of class with it, which makes it very expensive to buy and/or maintain due to the rank touch given to it. Besides, I have chosen the comparison of faux fur and real fur as a topic of interest due to the never-ending debate in the industry with one group of players supporting the use of real fur while the other opposes its use.
The division in this debate is so big that it has somehow dictated for some time the direction of the glamour industry with a lot of scrutiny being placed on models whenever they do fur fabrics. On the other hand, models who are a big influence on trending fashions have taken different stands depending on what they believe in between the already done synthetic fur or the real fur.
This issue has had an impact on the market for fur clothing. Although research has been done on the impact of both types of fur on the market, there has never been conclusion on the debate due to its cyclic nature.
Synthesis of secondary information to underpin my choice of topic
Faux fur and real fur have been in existence in the market for so many years now. They coexist on the same platform. Real fur has been around for a longer time. In fact, due to its original nature, it has cut a niche that has made it unique because it is real. The governance of the fur business has been included under laws of the country with the aim of achieving different objectives.
The first objective of the law was to protect real fur from being confused with fake fur as a way of protecting consumers from fake fur. Real fur is expensive to obtain. Thus, it is not commonly available to everyone. The need for people to look glamorous from the cheap end led to the rise of fake fur as an alternative to the real fur.
Because it needs scrutiny to differentiate, someone from a distance may not be in a position to tell the difference. The fur products labelling Act 15 of the U.S. C section 69 sets the rules for the use and labelling of fur products. It defines what fur is and/or what can be defined as a fur product. The federal laws governing the fur fabric business restrict the kind of fur to be used, from which animal, and the extent the fur is to be used.
Fur from animals such as dogs and cats is prohibited from being used to make fabric in the United States of America, thus making it specific in terms of which fur can be used. State Legislature (2008) reveals how “fears are all over that fur from prohibited animals has been integrated into the faux fur of fabrics being sold in America” (p. 13). This shows the intertwining debate that is in the fur industry.
On one side, proponents of the real fur are fighting to define fur as real fur thus keeping quality high for fur products that are being produced around the world. In this campaign, they work hard to ensure that synthetic fur is not labelled as real fur to confuse real fur lovers.
On the other hand, faux fur manufacturers try to beat the law by including some animal fur as part of their fur fabrics to tap into the market of animal lovers who are the proponents of faux fur. This makes the debate unending due to the different complex interests of the industry. Different beliefs and points inform the choice of fur to different people.
According to Katz (2008), it did not matter initially whether the fur she was wearing came from animals until one day she heard on the radio how some teddy bears were made from kitten hides. This made her become a full time faux fur lover (p. 8). The intriguing debate on the use of real fur and faux fur may not seem to end soon due to the strong positions the two groups have legitimately taken.
The effects of the debate on the two types of furs cannot be ignored because these factors inform most buyers on their choices of fur fabric that they wish to wear. Therefore, we cannot ignore or wash it away. Real fur remains the more prominent of the two furs due to the value attached to it as compared to faux fur.
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Real fur has a better history in relation to faux fur. This has made people of class who go for it to protect it from being imitated and from being banned as suggested by animal rights activists. Angela Valasquez (2011) finds that the choice of fur in most cases comes with the cold weather and/or the need to look good in any attire (p. 28). Wintertime requires heavy clothing to keep warm.
To avoid heavy clothing, fur comes in as the best light fabric to keep away the cold and/or keep the person warm without feeling overdressed. This makes fur remain an important fabric in the industry.
Strategic Issues relevant to my course
The fashion and marketing industry has different strategic issues that define how the industry operates together with how its future looks like. To survive in an industry, one needs to find out the fundamental issues that dictate the operations of the industry because these issues determine the direction the industry is supposed to take and thus its continual survival (Faerm 2012, p.211).
Strategic issues affecting the industry tend to vary from one issue to the other. Some issues are not static in that they tend to change over a period while some issues are static in such a way that they have always been part of the strategic and defining factors of the industry.
Therefore, for any person pursuing this course, there is the need to have knowledge that is empowering in such a way that the person becomes informed better on how to tread in the industry.
Just as the law governs all sectors of life, so is the fashion and marketing industry. The governance part that is brought about by the law is meant to ensure that the industry operates within certain limitations that would be consistent with the law of the land and one that would safeguard consumers from exploitation by the industry players.
Mishra (2009) states that the understanding of the law that govern the industry the student is training in is a fundamental steep in understanding the different handles of the industry since, once practicing in the industry, one is able to do his or her business legitimately ( p. 48). In the case of the fashion industry, there are several laws that govern different issues that come up.
This step is meant to place the functioning of the industry in synchrony with the functioning of the law of the land in general. The understanding of the law enables practitioners to operate within the lines of the law so that they are not cited for infringement of the same.
Different countries have different laws governing the marketing and fashion industry. Thus, it is prudent again for one to be aware of the different laws of different countries governing the industry (Miller 2009, p. 999) because fashion and marketing are a highly global industry and that being knowledgeable on the global front is a big advantage because it might require an individual to operate seamlessly in different countries.
Ethical issues are an important aspect that one needs to know as he or she trains in the field of fashion design and marketing. Ethical issues can vary from one group to the other depending on what an individual or group believes. However, there is the need to know the issues that cut across the industry, or are followed by the majority of the industry players.
The interesting bit about ethical issues is that they may be legal according to the law. However, count a lot on the credibility of the industry player. One of the ethical issues that have been embedded in the law touch on the identification of the material used to make an item (Craig, Guido & Bhatacharya 2010, p. 623). This recognition can be found on labels that describe the material used.
In clothing and textile business, value of different materials varies, with some being expensive while others are cheap. The need to provide look-alikes of expensive materials at an affordable price has led to the development of fake materials or imitations that can be passed on as originals.
Therefore, fashion and marketing ethics would require a client to be fully informed on the composition of the material and that the prices should be considered in that matter. Marketing in this case is also tied to ethics because a marketer will be required to provide full disclosure so that clients know exactly what they are buying.
Market trends are an issue that an individual should have in mind while undertaking a course in marketing and fashion design. Fashion design is a highly dynamic area that tends to change every other day. This therefore makes it necessary for one to develop an eye for the changing market trends so that he or she is up to date with the changes. Changes in fashion happen so many times over a short period.
They tend to vary from one place to the other. Some places take the shortest time to change while others take a longer time. Nevertheless, the trend always defines or identifies what people see as fashionable to wear at a certain time (Cervellon 2012, p. 135). One does not necessarily need to follow a specific trend because individuals set the trends. People can therefore set their own trend that can be followed by others.
The ability to be a trendsetter makes a person a notch higher as a fashion designer or marketer relative to the rest of the group. Cervellon (2012) further finds, “the ability to sway fashion trends is what has made successful marketers and fashion designers what they are as they make a name for their labels” (p. 136).
It is therefore important for individuals to develop qualities and talents that would enable them become fashion designers and marketers.
The research on the effect of faux fur on fur can be one way of determining the trends that help to define the market because the debate on the two kinds of fabric is so intense that none of the two groups is ready to lose ground on the issue. The study of trends can enable one to come up with an answer to this debate.
Different research methods are aimed at solving different research problems. Thus, their application should be selective concerning the intended research. Two types of studies that are commonly applicable can be categorised as qualitative and quantitative studies.
A quantitative study is usually applicable to a research problem that can be quantified in terms of numbers whereas qualitative research is a research derived mainly from literature and numbers that need a lot of interpretation (Frels & Onwegbzie 2013, p. 186: Brank & Grant 2011).
Although the debate on fur and faux fur has been on for a while now, it is very difficult to collect information directly that can be put into numbers, thus making qualitative research the best method to be applied to this research. The information on the effect of faux fur on real fur can best be found by doing research mostly through literature reviews and conducting interviews with the industry players.
Quantitative information on faux fur and real fur can be described as disjointed in that, when used this way, one will end up with a wrong picture of the whole scenario (Koch 1991, p. 413). On the other hand, qualitative information on the same subject is so abundant due to what has been written by different proponents and opponents in the debate.
Information on faux fur preferences can be obtained from interviews offered by different players in the field who are in a good position to show direction to inform the industry on the steps that have been taken. On this matter, celebrities who are used in the debates to support different sides are the best people to give a glimpse into the background of the same.
Industry players like stores and manufactures too can be the best people to provide reasonable information on the same. A good research on the relationship between faux fur and real fur should be able to provide an insight to a marketing and fashion design student on the issues that inform choices of the same to clients.
Knowing a client’s preferences is a definite success story because one will be able to serve a specific market niche (Mirsha 2009, p. 40). It also makes it easy for any marketer to serve the market because he or she does not have to do a lot of work in trying to convince a market about the products.
The debate on the effects of faux fur on fur cannot be washed away. The divide between the two worlds might never be reduced. The use of both types of fabric is so popular that laws have been passed to govern their usage in the industry as a way of protecting consumers and manufacturers. Research on the effect of faux fur on real fur is scant. Therefore, it calls for further research in the area.
One factor that has to be considered is that any research that may be conducted might not provide a conclusive answer because information on this debate cannot be fully quantified in most cases. Thus, the result can only provide a relative answer. To date, the line dividing synthetic fibres from real ones define major catwalks of the world. At the end of the day, the group that will be able to convince consumers on this will take the day.
One aspect that defines the debate is that pro-animal groups are not people who are really in the fashion industry. However, they are using the industry to make their own gains in their campaigns.
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Valasquez, A 2011, ‘Winter Fresh’, Eanshaw’s Review, vol. 95 no. 10, pp. 28-29.