Marc Jacobs is in hot water after an investigation indicated that the brand mislabeled real fur as fake and used raccoon dog hair on some of its faux fur.
Marc Jacobs fans and animal rights activists got a bit of a shock this week.
An investigation by the Humane Society and New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, revealed that not only is some of the fur on the designer's jackets and sweaters not identified as real or fake — which it must be, under New York state law — but some labeled as "faux" turned out to be real raccoon dog hair, the New York Daily News reports.
Raccoon dogs, which are wild members of the canine family and resemble raccoons but are not related to them, are common in parts of China, Japan and Siberia. They're valued — and skinned alive — for their soft coat, which can be cheaper than fake fur. According to the BBC, 70,000 raccoon dogs are killed every year for their fur, consumption and medical use. In China, according to Fur Free Alliance, 1.5 million raccoon dogs are bred on fur farms where they're held in horrible conditions and killed for their hair.
Rosenthal and Humane Society officials examined Marc by Marc Jacobs sweaters with fur linings or fur trimmings in Century 21 department stores in New York. Under a 2007 law sponsored by Rosenthal, all fur clothing sold in New York must contain information about whether the fur is real or fake and its country of origin.
In an undercover video her team shot, Rosenthal discovered that some of the clothing was not labeled at all. Other items were marked as "faux," but the trained investigators could plainly see that the clothing contained real fur, which subsequent testing found to be rabbit, hare or from unidentified animals.
Rosenthal also purchased three "faux" jackets from Jacobs' website. When delivered, the coats indicated that they contained "real raccoon fur" from China. On one jacket, further testing revealed that the trim was not raccoon fur but raccoon dog fur.
"Anybody who doesn't want to buy animal fur should be very angry that a product that they're trying to avoid is being misrepresented as a product they may want to buy," the Humane Society's Pierre Grzybowski told the Daily News.
On its Facebook page, Century 21 responded to the investigation, saying its stores "do not create garment labels, the manufacturers do. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide an accurate account of materials used in the garment and to be transparent with the consumer before his or her purchase."
Marc Jacobs did not immediately return requests for comment to the Daily News and other news sites.
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