When it comes to buying faux fur this holiday season, the Humane Society of the United States has two words for you: buyer beware. The animal-rights nonprofit filed a legal petition with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday accusing 11 retailers of misrepresenting fur fashions as “faux” despite containing raccoon, coyote, or other animal fibers. According to laboratory test results, Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Beyond the Rack, ShopBop, Dr. Jays, Revolve Clothing, Gilt Groupe, Ssense, Summit Sports, and Yoox are in violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act, which requires animal-fur products to include the name of the species used and its country of origin.

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“FAUX”-NY CLAIMS

The blame, for the most part, falls on the retailer rather than the brand in question, according to the Humane Society. A fur-trimmed Woolrich coat sold at Barneys, for instance, was categorized as “faux” despite a garment label that identified it as coyote fur. Other products that contained real animal fur include popular brands such as Marc by Marc Jacobs, Elizabeth and James, Mark & James by Badgley Mischka, Crown Holder, and Mackage.

The problem occurs most frequently with garments originating in China, where synthetic furs are more expensive than the genuine article.

“There is an epidemic of false advertising in the fur industry,” says Jonathan R. Lovvorn, the Humane Society’s senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation. “Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying, but many major retailers just don’t seem to care if consumers are deceived, even though real fur is something many consumers are determined to avoid.” The problem occurs most frequently with garments originating in China, he adds, where synthetic furs are more expensive than the genuine article.

The Humane Society is asking the FTC to take action against the retailers named, including, as appropriate, the seizure of mislabeled garments, the initiation of proceedings for injunctive relief, and fines of of up to $5,000 per violation to “protect consumers from deception.”

+ Press Release

+ Human Society

[Via Wall Street Journal]