Could your faux fur actually be real?

Fake fur being sold on UK high streets could actually be real, an undercover investigation by ITV's Good Morning Britain has found.

Three leading retailers - including Debenhams - were found to have real fur items in their shops - despite two of them publicly claiming their products are fur-free.

Fur trims and pom poms labelled as "100% polyester faux fur" were actually Angora rabbit and raccoon dog.

The killing of Angora rabbits is particularly cruel as the fur is plucked from their skin while they are still alive.

The investigation found £40 bags being sold in "fur free" Debenhams were actually rabbit fur - yet the same bag in a different colour was synthetic.

The bags have since been removed from shelves and Debenhams said they are investigating a problem with the supply chain.

A statement said: "Debenhams has a no fur policy.

"On discovery that an external brand had included a real fur item on an accessory product we took immediate action to remove the products from the shop floor and our website.

"We are investigating with the brand how this item entered the brand’s supply chain."

GMB reporter Katy Rickett with the fur items being sold as fake. Credit: GMB

The notion that real fur is more expensive than fake fur is also a myth - as the investigation revealed it was actually on sale cheaper in some stores.

A Christmas bag with a white pom pom on was being sold at a Forever 21 store in London for just £11.20.

Staff denied it was real saying everything in the store was fake. "It might look real but it's not," one shop assistant said.

But tests later revealed it was Angora rabbit - which the store publicly banned in 2014.

In a statement, Forever 21 said: "Forever 21 established a permanent fur-free policy in 2004 and a permanent ban on Angora rabbit hair in 2014.

"We have absolutely zero tolerance for the violation of these policies and are currently investigating the matter to determine the accuracy of the claims, as we take these allegations extremely seriously."

The Westside coat which was found to be raccoon dog. Credit: GMB

Shop assistants in independent store Westside in London assured GMB's undercover reporter the fur trim jacket she bought for £49.99 was not real.

But tests later revealed it was raccoon dog.

In a statement, Westside said the customer should have been told the item was real fur but it was a mistake by the shop assistant.

A raccoon dog. Credit: Humane Society International

Animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI), said many British shoppers who don't want to wear real animal fur can easily be duped.

A spokeswoman said: "Consumers mistakenly use a cheap price tag as reassurance that the fur is fake.

"But the grim reality of the fur trade is that life is literally so cheap for animals on fur farms in countries like China and elsewhere, that often real fur can be produced more cheaply than manufacturing faux fur.

"A huge volume of fur trim is imported into the UK from China, where HSI's investigations on fur farms has revealed animals enduring miserable lives and agonising deaths.

"With such poor labelling, it's very likely that many people wearing these items are entirely unaware of the grotesque suffering their fur represents."

How do you tell if fur is real?

  • Real fur tapers at the end

  • Feel the inside if it is a coat - if it is real it will be stiff

  • Cut a bit of fur off and burn it - if the fur frazzles it is real