The Advertising Standards Authority has penalised fast-fashion online retailer Romwe for selling real animal fur as faux fur, following a complaint by animal charity Humane Society International/UK
Fast fashion retailer Romwe has breached the Advertising Standards Authority’s code after animal charity Humane Society International/UK found it was selling items of clothing containing real fur that were marketed as faux.
HSI UK found two items for sale on Romwe’s online store marketed as faux fur which were revealed to be animal fur following tests by an independent textile analysis laboratory.
The charity purchased a “Flamingo & Slogan Print Faux Fur Detail Top & Striped Pants PJ Set” with a “faux fur detail” that lab tests revealed to contain rabbit fur, and “Black Artificial Mink Fur Ball Earrings” that lab tests confirmed were made of mink fur.
The ASA first contacted Romwe in January 2019 when it issued an Enforcement Notice, regarding ‘Misleading “Faux Fur” claims in clothes and accessories’.
The ASA contacted Romwe again in January 2020, when it became aware that the retailer was continuing to sell real fur as faux. In the absence of a response to the ASA’s enquiries, and continuation of selling real fur as faux, Romwe, whose FAQ page on its website tells customers it does not sell real fur or leather, has now been listed as a non-compliant advertiser, and may face further sanctions.
Tweeting about its ruling, the ASA said: “Romwe breaks UK ad rules https://t.co/EH22vtXApK for misleading “artificial mink fur” and “faux fur” claims on the Romwe website for clothes and accessories which contain real animal fur pic.twitter.com/gcjniYkeQi.”
‘Fake fake fur’
In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK said: “It’s completely unacceptable that compassionate consumers setting out to buy fake fur are being misled into buying cruel animal fur.
“The vast majority of British shoppers want nothing to do with the horrors of fur farming and trapping, but because of mislabelling shoppers face a minefield trying to avoid it. As long as animal fur can be legally and cheaply sold here this problem of ‘fake fake fur’ will persist.”
When making the original ruling, Advertising Standards Authority Director of Complaints and Investigations, Miles Lockwood said: “Consumers should be able to trust the ads they see and hear and they certainly shouldn’t be misled into buying a faux fur product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be from a real animal. That’s not just misleading it can also be deeply upsetting.
“Our rulings serve as an important notice to retailers and the clothing and textile industry about the need for truthfulness in their ad claims around faux fur products, and to get their house in order or face further action.”