INSIDE EDITION Investigates: Is That Fake Fur On Your Coat Really Fake?

Did you know that the faux fur on your new winter coat could be made from real fur? Lisa Guerrero and the I-Squad report on INSIDE EDITION's hidden camera investigation.

Many Americans wouldn't be caught dead wearing real fur, but they have no problem wearing fake fur.

To the untrained eye, fake (or faux) fur certainly looks and even feels like the real thing.

However, sometimes things can be deceiving. INSIDE EDITION's investigation found that when you buy a winter coat or jacket, or anything with a fur trim, and you think it's fake fur, it may turn out to actually be from an animal.

Pierre Grzybowski investigates fur clothing for the Humane Society of the United States. He went shopping with INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero in New York City to check out some jackets sold as fake fur.  
It didn't take long for us to find garments with fur trim that our expert believed was actually made of real fur. But you wouldn't know that from reading the manufacturer labels.  

"This is literally the skin of an animal with the hair still on it," said Grzybowski of one "faux fur" collar.

With hidden cameras rolling, we asked a saleswoman at a Loehmann's department store about a sweater with a fur vest.
"We just want to make sure that none of it's real fur," said an INSIDE EDITION producer.

After checking out the labels, the saleswoman told us that the fur on the sweater was definitely fake.

"It says 10% wool, 10% spandex and 80% acrylic," the clerk read from the tag.

"So no fur?" our producer asked.

"No fur," she confirmed.

Well, she was 100% wrong. We sent the sweater Dr. Chris Palenik for testing. And guess what? It turns out the Loehmann's sweater is actually made of rabbit, and dyed black.

Our next stop was Burlington Coat Factory, where we found dozens of popular Ed Hardy jackets with fur-trimmed collars.  

We asked a sales clerk about the fur collars.

"I wonder if you could tell us if it's real or fake fur?" our producer asked her.

"It's fake. You can look at this and tell it's fake," said the saleswoman. "Because real is nicer quality."

But that clerk was also misinformed. According to our lab, the fur trim isn't fake at all. In fact, it comes from an animal called an Asiatic raccoon, informally known as a raccoon dog.

Raccoon dogs are not actually dogs, but they are in the same family as the dog and are a popular source of real fur coming from China.

"These animals have very beautiful fur, which is their downfall," says Grzybowski.

In a statement, Burlington Coat Factory said the jackets violate their policies. They blamed the designer for supplying a garment that "did not display a label stating 'REAL FUR.' "   

"We need to get to the bottom of it, but we don't accept it," said Joe D'Aversa, Executive Vice President for the designer Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier.

"We are doing everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen again," he told INSIDE EDITION.

And model Joanna Kruppa is outraged. "It makes me so angry," said Kruppa, an animal lover who once posed naked for anti-fur ads.

"Animal lovers, they don't want to wear real fur. Here they are purchasing fur that they think is fake, but it's real. That's horrifying to me!" she told INSIDE EDITION.

"Consumers are being duped on a daily basis and as the holiday season approaches, the amount of people getting duped is only going to increase," says Grzybowski.

Burlington Coat Factory says they've removed all the Ed Hardy jackets with fur trim from their stores and promise a full refund for any customer who requests one.

For tips on how to tell the difference between real and fake fur, click here.