Faux-Fur Line ‘Imposter’: Six Questions with Founder Jaclyn Sharp
Since we last wrote about the faux-fur fashion line “Imposter” in February 2010, the brand has been steadily growing and attracting the attention of organizations like the Humane Society of the United States.
“Imposter provides a practical example of how to build the humane economy – where business ventures are married with animal protection values,” said HSUS CEO and President Wayne Pacelle in a statement. “Imposter & the IM symbol were created to protect the lives of animals, by shifting demand away from companies that exploit them and providing practical, humane alternatives for consumers. Imposter could be a serious game-changer for animals & the fashion industry.”
Back in 2010, Ecorazzi readers were a bit split on whether they would support a vegan faux-fur line – with some backing the creation of an animal-friendly alternative, and others shying away from anything that continued to endorse fur – fake or not. I recently sent Imposter founder Jaclyn Shark six questions to address this backlash and better understand how her business was evolving to meet concerns.
1. Since we last covered you in 2010, how has Imposter grown?
Sharp: Honestly, Imposter has grown so fast the company nearly ran me over. Lol The brand grew 900% in one season. We are in amazing new stores like Barneys, which has incredible influence on fashion trends. Many people consider Barneys to be the most influential luxury store. The buyers are thrilled to offer beautiful cruelty free choices & their customers love Imposter. We also have new celebrities involved! Imposter Faux Fur is now worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, a celebrity who I would only have dreamed of years ago. As one of the most influential celebrities in the fashion world (if not THE most influential), her support has been incredible.
2. How did the relationship with the HSUS come about?
Sharp: I have been talking with them for years, but The Humane Society of the United States had to be sure of Imposter & our mission. The HSUS is an incredible organization & their ONLY goal is to protect the lives of animals. They care about nothing else. I had to prove myself & show what Imposter could do to protect animals.
3. Are you receiving any backlash from vegan or the anti-fur community? Or has that softened?
Sharp: We have received some backlash from the vegan community, but that typically happens before they hear the full story of Imposter. The majority of vegans support Imposter and the International Cruelty Free Product Symbol – once they understand our mission. They realize that Imposter didn’t invent faux fur, but we intend to solve the “identity problem” & make faux fur recognizable from the outside.
4. Tell us about your Imposter symbol.
Sharp: The IM Imposter symbol has now been recognized as the International Cruelty Free Product Symbol. It is an incredible honor & the most important part of Imposter’s story. IM Imposter signifies two things. 1. That no animal life was taken for the product to exist. 2. That animals were protected with each Imposter-branded product. The IM symbol allows us to unite products inspired by animals, so we can give animals a share of the industry. The IM Imposter symbol also makes faux fur recognizable from the OUTSIDE as cruelty free. Creating awareness for this symbol is our primary goal. The IM symbol has a special meaning to me because it was inspired by a horse I rescued, named Draco. He is nearly black, but has a beautiful white star on his forehead. The diamond at the center of the IM symbol is in his honor. There is a picture of Draco on all of Imposter’s hangtags.
Link to Draco’s page:
5. What celebs have you worked with or embraced the brand?
Sharp: Imposter Faux fur is worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Underwood, Dakota Fanning, Emmy Rossum, & Kerry Washington, Marisa Tomei, & Olivia Palermo, among others. Kim Kardashian wore an Imposter Faux Fur vest on the cover of LA Confidential, so Imposter may make some Kardashian-style baby clothes by 2014 as well!! We are hoping to reach new celebrities, especially influential celebrities who wear a lot of real fur. Lady Gaga is at the top of my list. Imposter could create beautiful & striking cruelty-free looks for Lady Gaga.
6. What’s next?
Sharp: Imposter has a market that is nearly limitless. Considering what is at stake & the lives we will protect, Imposter will reach for the stars. We will aim for new stores and more products. We will expand across new product groups. Anything inspired by the beauty of animals or nature is part of Imposter’s vision. We believe that animals deserve a share of all products they have inspired. The natural world cannot hold a trademark on the beauty & miracles that we see every day: patterns, textures, colors, or above all: the beauty of animals. Many companies copy and showcase the most beautiful of nature’s inventions, often taking everything including breath and life. Animals cannot hold a trademark on products that have copied them or exploited a person’s love for them, but we can on their behalf. It is only fitting that animals inspire and initiate the evolution of the the fur industry, causing the vary movement that will eventually save them.