Joshua Katcher, who crafted the animal-free men's shoes for Vaute's presentation, said the use of leather and fur is tough to rationalize now because of the technological advances of faux products.
Saga's Ross disagreed: "The studies have shown that faux fur is an environmental nightmare. That it's a non-biodegradable product made from petroleum whereas fur is very biodegradable and has a long shelf-life."
But Ross also contends that designers now feel more confident using the real deal after examining the chain of production and finding it humane.
According the European Fur Breeders' Association, the E.U. is the world's largest producer of factory farmed fur. Farms like Saga's are governed by E.U. farming regulations. China is the second largest worldwide producer of fur pelts, but the country is often lambasted for its lack of regulation. Fur farming is currently banned in the United Kingdom, Croatia and Austria.
"Fur is not for everybody," Ross said. "For people that have made the decision not to use fur, we certainly respect that. But, other people should also respect the right for a designer to use it."
Saga's fur auction house, located in western Finland, supplies fox, mink and Finn raccoon to more than 400 designers globally, many of which are showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Another reason for the fur boom is that companies like Saga are wooing and supporting young designers.
Saga operates a research facility in Copenhagen, the Saga Design Centre, and invites established and emerging designers to visit and experiment with new techniques. In the case of anticipated newcomers who might not have the capital to purchase the high-end product, Ross said the Design Centre will make an investment in their first collection by providing a couple of pelts.
More than 25,000 fashion industry workers have visited the center since it opened in 1988, according to Saga's website.
As for faux fur, designers say imitation is the best form of flattery.
"I think the use of real fur vs. faux fur is up to the designer and the wearer. I prefer real fur, it's more luxe," designer Mirano said.
"A woman should have options and I think a lot of people do buy synthetic furs," Lubov said, adding that he thinks the product still needs further development.
Still, staunchly anti-fur designers argue it's as simple as changing the perception of luxury -- and the definition of cool.
"In the fashion world, being a villain is definitely a sought after aesthetic and that's a problem for ethical designers because we come across as the do-gooders," Katcher said.