Fake fur, also known as “faux fur,” is a pile material intended to resemble natural animal fur. It is crafted from synthetic fibers. Fake fur has grown in popularity because it is an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of real animal skins. Although it is not as warm as real fur, fake fur costs much less than real fur and is easier to clean.
Fake fur can be created in many different styles and colors. Fake fur is made from synthetic fibers, usually polyester or acrylic. These synthetic fibers--the “fur” part--are attached to a backing material. The backing material can be either a woven or knit fabric. Pile depth varies; fake fur is available both in short and long lengths. Although it takes some practice to learn to sew fur, fake fur can be sewn on a regular sewing machine.
The first faux furs were produced in the 1920s and used hair from the South American alpaca (an animal similar to a llama). The process of obtaining alpaca hair is similar to harvesting wool from a sheep; the animal is not harmed in the process. In the 1950s, technological advances led to the development of high-quality synthetic fibers. Using these new fibers, manufacturers were able to produce more realistic-looking fake furs, because the fibers could be dyed to resemble natural animal prints.
Although it is not as warm as real fur, fake fur is often used to make jackets, hats, earmuffs and other winter attire. Fake fur is also often used to make craft projects and toys, such as Halloween costumes or stuffed animals. Fur is used in home decor, often as pillows or blankets. Fake fur can be dyed to match certain animals or certain colors.
Purchasing Fake Fur
Fake fur is easy to find at any fabric store. It is available in almost any color imaginable. Some furs are designed to look like natural animal furs, but fake fur is also available in a wide variety of solid colors. Fake fur is sold by the yard, usually in 50- to 60-inch widths. Prices vary based on quality and pile depth.
Care of Fake Fur
Washing fake fur can affect its appearance and feel; for this reason, fake fur should not be washed until it is necessary. If fake fur is stained, first try spot cleaning with mild soap and water. Always refer to the manufacturer’s care tag. Fake fur is usually machine washable, but the washing process and detergents used can affect the quality of the fur. The fabric must dry thoroughly and may need to be groomed while drying in order to restore the original thickness of the fur.