If you object, on principle, to wearing furs, or if you object to their price, this is the fall for you. Wearing fake furs, you can revel for real.
Fake furs are more natural-looking than ever, if that's your coat-buying goal. If you don't want to look like you are wearing real fur, anyway, the latest selection of reds, purples and outrageously spotted coats is the most whimsical yet.The beaver, mink and raccoon fakes look real. The dalmatian and giraffe coats aren't even intended to.
Some manufactures are proud of the word "fake." Others call it "faux" fur, believing French sounds more elegant. Call it what they will, manufacturers expect big sales for 1990-91 - up 50 percent over last winter.
Anoraks, swing coats and cropped jackets are the most popular styles. Stoles, too, are making a comeback.
Prices are reasonable. You can buy a leopardlike vest for $115 at the Limited; coats, available at many department stores, are priced as low as $300 or $400, though they may cost as much as several thousand dollars.
More than 90 percent of all fake furs are made of Luxaire. Luxaire is manufactured in Osaka, Japan of "modacrylic" synthetic fibers. Girmes, one of the world's largest manufacturers of velvet and corduroy, is now adding Luxaire to those fabrics, too.
Luxaire may be the largest seller in the fake fabric market, but it isn't the latest seller.
The newest faux fur of all this fall isn't faux anything. It's made of turkey feathers. The coats are advertised as looking like fox. Available locally at the Brown-Eyed Susan (in women's and children's coats) these turkey creations are as light as a feather, scrunchable, packable, designed in the U.S. and manufactured in Italy.
The turkeys that gave up their feathers for the coats didn't know it. They had already given up their lives to grace American dinner tables.
As those who care about animal rights become more vocal we will see more and more innovations in coat materials, say the fake fur manufacturers. European designers have been experimenting with fake fabrics for several years.
Have animal activists had any impact on Utah fur sellers? Apparently. One local store owner who said she doesn't deal in fake furs says she doesn't want the name of her store mentioned in connection with furs at all.
Lynn Arent, owner of Arent's, says she continues to stock furs and hasn't bought any fakes. "Fake furs come in and out of fashion. I don't think they will ever replace real furs," Arent says.
As to the stand animal rights activists take against fur coats, Arent says she has a hard time figuring out how people draw the line between what's acceptable and what's not. Why are shearling coats (made of lamb skin) and leather bomber jackets more acceptable than rabbit coats, for example, she wonders.
The fact is, she says, "Fake furs are very polluting when they are made and they never disintegrate. They are not biodegradable. Right now I'm more worried about pollution than anything else."
Meanwhile, those whose main concern is animal rights continue to picket and shout obscenities. And, like most of the rest of us, they can't always tell Luxaire from lynx.
Recently a woman shopping in Bloomingdales, in New York, slipped her hand in the pocket of the Luxaire coat she was trying on. There she found a little note signed by an anti-fur group. "Please don't buy this fur coat," she read. "Innocent animals died for it."