Clothing retailers have been told to act to ensure items they advertise as containing fake fur are not made from real fur. The Advertising Standards Authority found online retailer Boohoo had sold a pompom jumper which used real fur, most likely rabbit fur. The UK's advertising watchdog has given the companies a deadline of 11 February, after which they may face sanctions.
This is a part of a widespread problem of real fur masquerading as fake fur. A pompom headband sold by Zacharia Jewellers, a firm trading on Amazon, was also found to have broken the rules. Last year a BBC investigation found TK Maxx and other Amazon retailers had sold items labelled faux fur but using real fur.
The items were spotted by animal welfare charity the Humane Society International as part of an ongoing investigation into the trend.
Real fur, while traditionally considered a luxury material, can sometimes be cheaper than artificial fur. As a result, some manufacturers have used fox, racoon or rabbit fur on items without accurately labelling them. The findings against Boohoo and Zacharia prompted the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which draws up rules on advertising practice, to issue an enforcement notice.
It requires retailers to ensure they are not misleading consumers and provides some advice on how to go about examining products and supply chains more closely.
Oritain, a leading specialist in supply chain traceability, works with retailers and suppliers within the fashion industry, to trace the provenance of fibres through the supply chain by testing it in its natural state using forensic science. This adds another layer of transparency and reassures consumers that what they are buying is exactly what it says on the label – combatting substitution and fraud.
“The fact that the Advertising Standards Authority has asked retailers to take immediate action to ensure items they advertise as containing fake fur are not made from real fur, has highlighted that this is an industry-wide issue. With consumers becoming increasingly savvy about the clothes they buy, particularly with regard to ethical fashion, retailers risk causing irreparable damage to their brand by not having total oversight of their supply chain,” commented Rupert Hodges, Executive Director, Oritain.
“Unfortunately, due to the complexity of international supply chains, retailers often struggle to verify the source of the raw materials used in their products, often having to rely on labels and tags which can be counterfeited.”
“The Committees of Advertising Practice has quite rightly highlighted that the only way to truly ensure that real fur does not end up in a company’s supply chain is to test and verify the origin of the product itself. Using technology such as forensic science, which does not rely on labels, retailers are able to guarantee to consumers that what they are buying is exactly what it says it is, helping to protect their brand reputation.”