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Faux Faux Fur Causes Real Scandal

In what could become the most bizarre fashion scandal of 2013, three retailers–Neiman Marcus,, and Eminent–settled with the F.T.C last week, admitting that fur products they’d marketed and sold as faux were actually real fur. Apparently, the “fake fur” products were made of rabbit, raccoon, and dyed mink.

As retailers have struggled to accommodate a rising demand for fake fur, the practice of mislabeling real fur has become increasingly common, according to animal protection groups.  “The lines between real and fake have gotten really blurry,” Dan Mathews, of  P.E.T.A. “In this global marketplace, there are fur farms in China that raise dogs for clothing that is labeled as fake fur here in the U.S. because that’s what the market best responds to.”

Confusing, or downright negligent labeling may also be to blame. In an email to The New York Times, Hymie Betesh, CEO of, wrote that because the company sells so many products, “There were a handful of instances where a word may have been omitted…and others where the word ‘fur’ was used to describe the style of a product, not intending to describe fabric content.”

The companies implicated by the F.T.C. settlement won’t be financially penalized, but if they’re caught mislabeling in the next 20 years, they will face “significant” fines.