Maybe it’s because more fashion brands are jumping on the cruelty-free bandwagon, entire cities are going fur free (looking at you Los Angeles), or the fact that it’s so dang plush and cozy, but faux fur coats are one of the most popular winter jacket styles this year.
Even before the weather outside was frightful enough to make you want to turn into a teddy bear, eBay saw a 105-percent spike in interest for faux fur. It sold over 50,000 fuzzy vests, coats, backpacks, and other fashion items that closely resemble stuffed animals from September to July alone, as revealed in its 2018 shopping report.
It’s not just eBay, either. Designers Amélie Brick and Lauren Nouchi, co-founders of the French fashion brand Apparis, specialize in faux fur coats and say they’ve seen an uptick in interest, too. They believe a major reason why faux fur is finding so much favor right now is because it doesn’t look as fake as it used to.
“The vegan products of the past have tainted a generation of consumers into thinking that vegan leather or faux fur isn’t as soft or as warm as the real thing, but technology has come a long way,” says Brick. She and Nouchi add that it’s not just vegans who are interested in faux fur anymore, but also younger and more conscientious consumers.
“We strongly believe that the new generation thinks and buys differently,” says Nouchi. “They are becoming more and more aware of the impact our choices have on the world, and we are seeing luxury brands taking a step into the future of fashion to cater to this next generation of shoppers.”
British fashion designer Stella McCartney, who famously (and intentionally) has never used animal products in her collections, has been largely credited with elevating the profile of faux fur and vegan leather and helping it go mainstream. She’s hardly alone, however. In addition to Apparis, UK lines Shrimps and Jakke also create covetable faux fur coats and jackets. Companies like Asos, Zara, H&M, and Ariztia do as well. Honestly, it’s harder at this point to not find faux fur offerings on most major sites, which means there are interesting designs at pretty much every price point.
And sure, there are designers who are decidedly focused on creating spot-on substitutes for real pelts, but what’s more interesting are the ones who aren’t attempting to pass. “Overall, the best-selling color this winter is our emerald green, as it’s very trendy yet very easy to wear every day,” says Brick of a hue decidedly not found among vertebrates in the wild. It’s kind of like how plant-based meat alternatives have pivoted away from trying to taste “just like the real thing,” and discovered they’re delicious all their own: It feels like faux fur’s finally stopped trying to be something it’s not.
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