After several denials to the contrary, Urban Outfitters has finally copped to selling real fur as faux. Vegan activist Joshua Katcher, who blogs at The Discerning Brute, called the hipster label out on Thursday after purchasing the offending garment—the “S Loves C by Spring & Clifton Faux Fur Cardigan”—and running a gamut of visual and smell tests on camera. Besides running foul of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act that will take effect next month, Urban Outfitters also reneged on a 2009 agreement with PETA to stop selling fur in its stores. In fact, the company is named as a fur-free retailer on the Humane Society of the United States’ website. What’s an animal lover to do?
In a letter addressed to Katcher on Friday, a spokesman for Urban Outfitters apologized for the “unacceptable mistake,” adding that the error originated from the product vendor’s factory. “We sincerely apologize for this unacceptable mistake,” the company says. “We take our agreement with PETA to stop selling fur seriously and want to uphold our promise.”
In 2009, Urban Outfitters told PETA that it would stop selling animal fur.
Katcher, for one, is buying it. “It’s fantastic that Urban Outfitters has admitted to the mistake, apologized, and agreed to maintain their anti-fur position,” he says on the blog of his Pinnacle: Reinvent the Icon campaign. “Consumers need to be more vigilant than ever with so much fur coming from China where no animal welfare regulations exist and labeling loopholes create problems like this. Thankfully, people who are as shocked by fur production as I am can once again feel confident shopping at Urban Outfitters.”
HOW TO TELL REAL FUR FROM FAUX
1. Push apart the fur and look at the base of the hairs: Faux fur generally has a mesh or threaded backing, while the genuine article protrudes from skin or leather.
2. Check the tips of the hairs: Unless the fur has been sheared or cut, animal hairs taper to a fine point. Tapering has not been observed, however, in any faux-fur samples to date.
3. The burn test (only if you own the coat): Remove a few hairs and hold them with tweezers over a non-flammable surface. Then, light them with a match or cigarette lighter. Animal hair smells like human hair when burned. Fake fur, which is commonly made from acrylic or polyester, gives off the whiff of melting plastic.