The two main elements of the faux fur fabric are the fibers or fur and the backing to which the fur or fibers connect. It is the backing for the fake fur fabric, which gives the requisite shape and structure to the fabric and then the garment/product. Shape and structure are words easily used but here they imply durability and a 'structured' fabric, as is fake fur, implies too that it is a fabric that can be used to make durable fake fur products e.g. garments.
The backing gives shape to the fabric and with fake fur, the backing is as important as the fibers themselves. Fake fur is made synthetically from fiber polymers such as acrylic polymers or modacrylic polymers. Then these fibers can be woven into the backing. The fibers are not always woven but it is worth analyzing what is the main industrial method for connecting the fibers to the backing. However I can't answer this question here. Tufting as well as other processes can be used also to connect the fibers to the backing and it is the nature of how the fibers are placed into the backing which is important. Fake fur gains a specific direction and a pile because of the way the fibers connects to the backing.
Fake fur is made synthetically from polymer fibers and these fibers may be woven into a suitable backing. With fake fur, it is the way that the fibers are connected to the backing that is obviously important and it is this that is central to what fake or synthetic fur is. 'Connection' may not be a suitable word but the fibers are not always woven onto the backing. There are possibly other methods and that is why the term 'connection' is used.
How do you give the necessary structure and shape to a fake fur fabric? One answer is through the proper choice of backing fabric as well as the connection of the fibers to the backing. Still the polymers fibers have a central role. And it was only with the development of such polymers such as modacrylic, that manufacturers could really make fake fur fabrics of good quality.
What are the main techniques for connecting the fibers to the backing? There is weaving where the fibers are woven into the backing fabric. Another method is tufting. An important fact about tufting is its high rate of speed in producing garments and other goods. It is worth noting too that circular loop knitting and sliver knitting are other methods of fake fur garment production.
Fake or synthetic fur is known as a pile fabric. You may call instinctively a deep pile fabric because it has a deeper pile than carpet. Fake furs specifically are deep-pile fabrics. The pile of a fabric is like the nap of a fabric e.g. velvet has a nap. A carpet has a pile too but the nap and the pile are two different things. A pile has the property of depth which the nap doesn't. The nap is the one-directional nature of a fabric. A pile too is one-directional but it has depth and that is why, for one simple reason, there are deep pile fabrics. There is a softness about fur also which gives it its greater depth too.
It is known that fake furs were first introduced in 1929 but the quality was fur. I cannot speculate on the reason for its introduction but manufacturers from the late nineteenth century were constantly aiming to produce new synthetic fabrics. Still this new fake fur was not successful because it was not really 'fur'. It is interesting to note that the first fake furs were made using hairs from the alpaca. Thus there was an obvious certain natural quality to the early fake furs.
Alpaca hairs were thus the key to making fake furs and in the 1950s these alpaca hairs were replaced by acrylic polymers. These acrylic polymers were important because they helped to give the bulky and 'deep' texture ssociated with fur. These acrylic polymers were then further developed so that a true furry texture could be effected and now modacrylics seem to be the main polymers used in the manufacture of fake fur. This is because these latter polymers give the necessary texture and effect. This article is an introductory article. It is possible that acrylic polymers blended with other polymers are used by some manufacturers also to make fake furs. It is important to note too that fabrics like wool, cotton and silks can added to the modacrylic. Sometimes synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon are used too to get a desired effect.
Just a quick note then on why fake fur is an important fabric. A good fake fur has the necessary shape and structure to make quality goods. Fake fur is a synthetic fabric but with the advancements made in the area of polymeric fibers, it is now an important fabric. One advantage that it has against natural fur is how easily receptive it is to new colors and dyes. Thus that rich and deep texture that is fur can now have new colors. Modacrylic fibers are specially receptive to new colors and dyes. Colors are centrally important in all areas of fashion and fake fur's easy receptiveness to new dyes and colors is an obvious advantage. There are many colors that natural furs can't receive. It is certainly worth analyzing the reasons for this.