Friday, Aug 1, 2014 03:48 am est

Designers go vegan, turn to faux textiles

Posted on February 19, 2014 | by Nikita Metharamani

Avital Glibicky for WSN

The use of fur on the runway has caused arguments about animal cruelty and ecological concerns. Recently, faux textiles such as vegan leather and suede have made their way into the industry, quieting the controversy surrounding the use of fur in fashion.

Faux textiles were created and distributed in the ‘50s. However, many people thought poorly of faux material due to its lack of quality and luxury. However, faux textiles have been gaining popularity because of advances in technology that enable designers to create improved faux materials. Modern faux textiles are made of processed and dyed polymeric fibers, and the texture and color is later altered to the specifications of the designer.

The advantages of faux materials have been shown through their consumer revenue and their reputation and status today. Compared to real fur, faux textiles are cheaper to manufacture. In addition, the faux material is practically indistinguishable from real fur. This has benefited those who are committed to the animal rights movement. Today, faux furs and leathers are a fashion must-have.

The presence of faux textiles in the industry was apparent at various runway shows during the Fall/Winter 2014 New York Fashion Week. For example, top designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Stella McCartney incorporated faux fur into their collections.

During NYFW, many designers, models and editors wore faux fur and leather during the cold winter season, attesting to the popularity of faux use in the industry. This new look ranges from white angora-style coats to ivory synthetic fleece

Steinhardt freshman Riana Chen sees the rising use of faux materials in fashion as positive from both a moral and financial standpoint.

“I think it’s a great way for designers to appeal to those who are against animal cruelty and support humane practices,” Chen said. “It’s [also] a way for designers to reach new clients who want the stylish look of fur, but don’t want to spend the full price.”

Although many designers are embracing faux textiles, others still choose to use real fur in their collections. Some designers may claim to use faux textiles when actually using real fur. Designer Marc Jacobs has previously sold coats labeled as “faux,” only for researchers to later discover that these products contained real fur.

Through all the controversy, though, the fashion industry has realized the importance of faux textiles in our society. Hopefully, this upcoming fad of faux fur and leather will continue and expand throughout the coming years of fashion.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 19 print edition. Nikita Metharamani is a contributing writer. Email her at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.