In an ambitious collaboration with Humane Society International [HSI], Lush have launched the nationwide #WhatTheFur?! campaign across all 103 stores in the United Kingdom, to raise awareness of real animal fur being mislabelled as faux fur.
The display utilises lenticular technology, in which a woman wearing a fur bobble hat cleverly morphs into a fox on a fur farm, symbolising the growing issue of fur product falsification; deceiving shoppers into buying cruel fur they might otherwise have actively avoided. Both the fur trimmed hat and the fox are shown sporting the same “100% acrylic” label attached to their fur, demonstrating that clothing labels can lie.
The campaign was launched at Lush's Studio in Soho, London. The event, hosted by Director of Ethics at Lush Cosmetics Hilary Jones, held the UK premiere of documentary Klatki, a short film that exposes the reality and cruelty of fur farming in Poland. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with the director, Connor Jackson, Cosmopolitan Senior Fashion Editor Sairey Stemp, Claire Bass, Executive Director HSI UK, wildlife presenter Anneka Svenska and former Made in Chelsea cast member and campaigner Lucy Watson.
A selection of mislabeled fur items discovered in HSI’s original nationwide investigation were on display, and guests, including Ethica Magazine, were challenged to single out the items amongst faux fur counterparts. The misleading products selected for the event were all officially on sale in national outlets such as Debenhams, House of Fraser, and Misguided earlier this year.
Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International UK said: “British consumers will be shocked to learn that they are being duped into buying real animal fur. Partnering with Lush gives us a unique opportunity to reach shoppers across the country who are unaware that trusted brands and independent retailers alike can be caught out selling real animal fur at deceptively cheap prices, described as “faux” or “100% acrylic”.
Hilary Jones, Lush Ethics Director commented: “We know from our own experience that what customers want from companies is cruelty free products, transparency and honesty. The public think that, because of public pressure, fur was banished from UK high streets decades ago. They will not thank brands that are either mistakenly or negligently putting real fur onto their customers. It is time for everyone in the supply chain to take responsibility, or customers will lose faith. We are happy to help HSI in this important campaign, to help empower customers and to remind the Government that current fur policy is neither consistent nor in line with public feeling.”
Fur farming was outlawed in the UK on moral grounds in 2000, and EU regulations ban fur from domestic cats, dogs or commercial seal hunts. However, unlike food labelling - where ingredients must be clearly listed on packaging - garment labels do not have to stipulate where real fur is used in every case. The result is that many products made by third party companies for ‘fur-free’ retail outlets outside Europe use real animal fur, labeling their products as synthetic to reduce production costs.
A YouGov poll conducted on the British public by HSI showed that 85% of consumers expect animal fur to be clearly marked on the label when used in the clothes and accessories they buy.
The joint campaign between HSI and Lush is continued in store and online where customers can pick up or download a free wallet-sized guide, helping their customers to distinguish between real and faux fur; and instructs the reader where to sign HSI’s #FurFreeBritain petition, calling for a ban on fur imports.