Jump to content

The prospect of fur


Foxb
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi there - I just joined this forum, I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm a fashion design student (I make menswear) in the UK and I have just started thinking about using fur in my designs. I'm going to be entering a fur design contest this year (and am including rabbit in my main collection). A lot of my peers don't agree with this. In fact, I am finding it a little distressing as one of the techniques I wish to use is fur knitting, which I am slowly developing the knack for (long, slow process!) but my knitwear tutor is so against fur that I daren't talk to her about it. I feel like I'm a little on my own with my newfound passion, even though I'm doing my very best to source fur responsibly.

 

Fur has stuck around in the UK, particularly in London (I'm in the north east, miles away... booo!) but it can really only be imported (except wild game skins, like deer, being a by product of the meat industry). This makes things expensive, though after an arduous slog I'm hoping I'm going to be able to source some decently priced pelts to work with soon. It's been a long, slow road!

 

I used to be very against fur. However, I did so much research into the subject and saw both sides of the argument, and now I am very keen to use it and to wear it (insight into its origins preferred). It scares me that peers and other people in the UK (well, and presumably all over the world, but there does appear to be a lot of vitriol here) can be so aggressive about fur use. I now think, 'how dare they try to take away something that people use for their livelihoods, and which I would like to use for mine, and which, in any case, should be a personal choice of use'.

 

Fur does seem to be becoming more popular again but it isn't without its difficulties and opposition. What are your thoughts on its prospects? I would be so upset if it got harder and harder to source skins.

 

I have a few questions that I was hoping to get a general opinion on. As I said, my views have changed fairly recently and I am still coming to terms with some aspects of my new opinions (in particular, I always did have a soft spot for foxes, and an even softer spot for mustelids, owing to the fact that I have two pet skunks... but I still feel that responsibly sourced fox and mustelid could be used in my designs or that I would definitely wear them - well, not skunks - mink, maybe!).

What are your favourite fur types and what particular garments do you enjoy most?

 

My final question - I have seen a lot of posts on a different website about respect for the dead animal. Some people I know collect animal pelts... but they don't agree with fur use in fashion. Personally, I think that the collection of pelts just to have lying around is not to be objected about if you're a collector and you're keen to do that, but that there is nothing wrong with turning the pelts into something useful, like clothing. It's not more respectful to have them lying around with faces and feet, in other words, and in my opinion.

 

Phew! Sorry for the ramble. I just wanted to introduce myself (in a meandering, probably not very coherent way!) and get to know what people think about fur use. Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Fur Den

 

You should not let others' opinions deter you from using fur. It's a personal choice like you said. It's warm, practical, beautiful, wonderfully soft, and has been in use since time immemorial. The fur industry in the West has a labeling program called Origin Assured, which you may be familiar with. Its goal is to make sure fur is responsibly sourced, that fur farms follow strict animal welfare standards, that wild caught animals are humanely killed, and that fur from endangered species is not used. It's kind of like the organic labeling for food.

 

My favorite fur is sea otter, followed by Russian sable. I also love fox fur.

 

For sources of pelts, you can always check eBay. There are websites that sell fur, such as glacierwear.com and hegoldbergfur.com.

 

Tricia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the warm welcome!

 

Yes, I am familiar with Origin Assured labeling. I'm going to be entering a fur design contest that involves such labeling - this is how my research on fur started earlier this year.

 

I haven't ever touched sea otter or sable yet, I hope I get a chance to at some point. I think that such expensive furs are a little outside of my student budget at the moment, but one day...

 

I have seen glacierwear.com before and was impressed with the stock available. However, they charge a $125.00 fee (to be increased this year) for any shipments to the UK because of the wildlife permits required for exporting animal products. It could be worse... but it could be a lot better too. =/

 

Em

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incidentally, if anyone has any great sources of inspiration for fur menswear, I would love to see them! I'm female, but as I said in my original post, I do menswear design. I see no reason why 'feminine' materials can't be used for menswear and I'm hoping to look at the use of more feminine fur types as well as other fabrics that are considered not masculine (lace, etc)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome here!

 

I'm male.

About a month ago was a voting one of my country's Fashion website: wearing furs is cool or embarrassing?

The decision was: Cool and trendy (60%).

 

Do not let yourself to influence.

 

My favourite furs: Fox (I have a long silver fox fur, and a real man hooded black fox fur coat, what my furrier remodelled me in last month).

I also like sable and lynks, but they are too expensive for me.

 

I also like 2 tone furs, like red-white or white-gray or silver-black.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ffl83: I think I saw your remodelled black fox coat when I was looking around on the forum, which I thought looked fantastic with the hood.

 

Thank you for the support!

 

I like two tone furs, too, which is why I like the different markings of fox.

 

I want to experiment with different fur lengths too. I very much wanted to design and make a jacket with rabbit (as that's what I can afford for my student collection) and shear part of it, and leave part long. I didn't want to cut separate panels of long and sheared but rather shear the panelled effect in. However, rabbit fur is difficult to trim - I suppose I'd need the type of trimmer used for angora rabbit or something like that. In any case, I may end up buying sheared rabbit and natural rabbit plates separately... but so far I have only found sheared rabbit available in black and white. Even my 'natural' long haired rabbit plate that I bought recently is dyed natural..! And in any case, it is a plate of skin-on-skin and it doesn't look as refined as it could. I may be forced to leave it that way though, as I have neither the skill nor the time to do much else. The plate is beautifully soft, but it is not quite as refined as it could be, I think. I am still unsure what to do about this but if you guys don't mind, I would love to keep you updated on my progress and ask for advice and share what I'm doing - I'm delighted with the warm response I have received so far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you!

I'm very viewed for your fur coats, particularly meal coats.

I think, not too easy to make realy masculine fur coat (it is more true for long haired fur).

Unfortunately nowdays the fur coats are too feminine fashion. I hope, it will change, and we, mailes can wear again furs without to became wonderment.

But I wear my coats with big happy and pride. You too have to do this and make fur coats

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi dear! I'm glad to see someone into fur design. I love clothing design as a hobby. Just starting to do some fur design on my furs (re-design). Fur is fashion to me, like clothing, shoes......If I were in this contest, I'd use two types of furs, long haired fur and rabbit fur, use rabbit fur as a base, and use long haired fur for the top of the jacket- shoulders, and main part of the front and back. In order to make the jacket looks manly, the long haired fur, I'd use fox ( or coyote, or raccoon, or even Mongolian lamb fur), and let long haired fur from the back to the front like pelt drapes ( go over the shoulders), stop in the front with pelt head shape, and use rabbit fur to finish rest of the jacket. Rabbit fur is short and plain, in order to win the contest, you'd needs some help from long haired fur to boost up the design, to be the eye catcher, to make the jacket wild and manly. It's just my thought. I'd design this way........and the colors are very important too of course........The cheapest way to create this jacket is to find two fur coats, a rabbit fur and a long haired fur, and cut them into the pieces you need, it's much easier than starting from pelts. A shortcut indeed!

I hope you win!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is often the very same people who protest against the use of fur who also sit around Starbucks, drinking their Grande-mochachino-latte-frappe made with non-fat soy milk and sweetened with organic honey, all the while, whining and pontificating about how bad Man is to Earth's environment. What they don't realize is that the coffee, right there, in their hands is probably one of the WORST consumer products for the environment.

 

Coffee farmers often use slash-and-burn agriculture to convert large areas of forest and grassland into coffee plantations. Same goes for coconut palm oil and soybeans.

The land these crops use would have been homes for birds and animals but has now been laid waste so that some pansy-ass college students can sit in their nice, climate controlled coffee shop and pretend to be like Rachael Carson.

 

Then, they hop in their petroleum-burning cars, trains and SUVs and drive six miles home to their air conditioned dorm rooms. They never stop to think that this one trip to the coffee shop so they can have their Grande-frappa-whatzi-chino has probably killed or prevented the births of enough animals to make an entire fur coat!

 

May I assume that your fashion design course is an advanced class? From where I used to work, that's what it would have been. Students in fashion wouldn't get a whole lot of hands-on until at least their second year. They wouldn't design entire lines of clothes until, maybe, their senior year and, maybe, grad school. But my school (where I worked) was a liberal arts school that had a fashion department. If you are going to a bona fide fashion school your courses will be different than what I know about.

 

Anyhow, assuming that, by the time you get to doing hands-on work, you have progressed far enough in your course of study where the teachers no longer have the right to make social judgments about your behavior. Right? Freshmen and sophomores, straight out of high school (primary school?) need more social guidance but, juniors, seniors and grad students don't. Thus, it is not your teacher's job to impress his warped social values on you!

 

Your teacher certainly has the right to express his opinion but he can not tell you, a grown adult, what to do with your life or your career. Tell him to butt out!

 

If that doesn't work, tell him that you are going to take this matter to the department head. If that doesn't work or if you even get a HINT that he is down-grading you for standing up to him, tell him you are going to the dean or the provost. If this teacher hasn't received tenure, that should put the fear of God in him. If he is tenured, the potential of losing $30,000 to $50,000 per year in tuition plus room and board will certainly make the school administration take notice.

 

What idiots like that don't realize is that a great portion of the foundations of Western society were built on the fur trade. Many of the great institutions of New York, London and Paris were created by the fortunes of people like John Jacob Astor whose fortunes came from the buying and selling of furs between the New World and the Great Powers of Europe. People like your teacher sit in their ivory towers and whine all day long, not understanding how their livelihoods are based on the very things they complain about.

 

Screw them! If you ever get to be a fur fashion designer, I'd be glad to buy furs from you! I'm sure that there are dozens of people who visit this site who would do the same!

 

I wish you well in your career and Godspeed!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This reminds me of the last day of high school. It was June 2002. My teacher, a gay white man in his thirties, was a vegetarian. He used the last day of school to invite a vegan/animal rights person to our classroom to do a presentation on the horrors of meat eating. The guest was white and in her 20s/30s. We watched a gory video of pigs at a slaughterhouse. The guest brought pamphlets. I thought this presentation was in really bad taste. Since it was the last day of high school for me, I tolerated it. The presentation left a bad taste in my mouth. It did nothing to change my meat-eating habits.

 

Tricia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all the kind comments! I feel very encouraged.

 

I'll explain a little more about my course, Worker - it's a four year course and I am currently in my final year. We started making garments in first year, but the step up from making these single garments to what we have to do now is unfortunately quite a big leap. Right now, I have to do a collection of 6 (or more...) outfits as well as entering various other briefs.

 

The fur contest that I am doing is separate from the collection, but I'm using fur in both. Because I have to make multiple outfits for the main collection I am stuck with rabbit fur for cost, unfortunately. Summersmorning, you suggested including some wilder, longer fur for the fur contest and that is definitely the plan. I was going to go with fox because you're spoilt for choice with regards to colour that way.

 

As for people who are anti fur - I do thankfully have some tutors who are very supportive of my use of fur. I even have one tutor who, despite being uncomfortable with fur himself, did encourage me to use it and it was mainly through his suggestion that I started the contest in the first place. There are some mature and sensible fence sitters out there! My personal tutor is very encouraging about fur, too. I don't think anyone would really attempt to stop me from using it... just I'm likely to get an earful about it.

 

freemetolovefur: That sounds like an incredibly uncomfortable situation. Students shouldn't be forced towards any particular opinion, especially not in a biased way or with propaganda.

 

All I can say is that my views on things have changed 180 degrees after researching both sides - that is what is necessary to reach a personal decision.

 

And I believe that it is impossible to be truly ethical. Worker, what you said about the production of coffee etc. is quite true. Also, a lot of people who are against fur don't seem to realise what evil goes into the production of other garments that are worn without a care in the world - what resources are used for synthetics, and what conditions the workers are in who make clothes for cheap, popular clothing stores. People care more about animals being killed than they do about humans working in shoddy, collapsing buildings with no accident compensation and precious little wage. It's sad!

 

Thank you for all the supportive messages. I would love to be a fur fashion designer one day. If I do get anywhere with the competition, I may get an internship out of it - that would be fantastic. We shall see. I hope you'll enjoy my presence on the forum - I've been enjoying reading threads and I'm sure I'll enjoy contributing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incidentally, I look forward to acquiring my own fur coats! It's quite frustrating to be drawing, designing and even, in the next few months, making fur coats for men and not to have anything to wear myself. I own one fur jacket in rabbit. It's quite subtle. It can be worn reversed with the fur on the outside, but it is supposed to be styled with the suede on the outside, as if it were a wild looking toscana. The fur (very dark brown) is visible in the collar and cuffs when they are turned back. I also own a mystery fur scarf (pom-pommed) in dyed black... something. I used to think it was rabbit, not being very knowledgeable about the matter. Now I'm unsure as to whether it is fox. In any case, it was a gift, from a person who is now deceased - so I can't ask her! I actually got it back when I was very uncertain on the topic of furs, but regardless, I wore it with aplomb, and still do. My fiance encouraged me to buy the jacket. He loves it. There's just something about fur...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's really a good idea to get an internship out of this contest. Smart girl! " title="Applause" /> What about use some long feathers/jewelries in your design? In order to get everyone's attention, you need to add on some unusual details on this jacket, long feathers/jewelries might do the trick. It's just a thought......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wondered about that - speaking of feathers, I found some beautiful beads recently in the shape of feathers and claws, in coral and cream colours. However, they were resin, and I would have rather had a somewhat more expensive looking material like a stone or glass. Ah well. I also found some fantastic antler buttons and toggles. I'm in touch with a craft workshop that makes them, and I'm sure I could persuade them to try out some different details such as jewellery pieces for me...

 

Feathers in and of themselves are a great idea too! I'm going with a wild look to the designs. It could work!

 

As for the internship: well, I feel it's my duty to give it a go since I want fur to remain in the UK. I'm the only one in my course entering this contest! Even though there are other people on the course who like fur.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foxb...

 

It is so nice to see you posting here. I really wanted to give you a word of welcome, and to tell you how great it is to hear posts from a new and different angle. If more new people would post here this would be a much better spot.

 

We certainly hope that you love it here and find you can use it as a spot to just kick your shoes off and sit and enjoy the company!

 

Hope you have a great New Year

 

White Fox

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the warm welcome, White Fox.

I've been looking for a fur forum for a while - I noted that it has actually been quite difficult to find one because of the popularity of 'furries', as in those anthropomorphic-type drawings and costumes that people wear to look like their favourite animals. Always made from faux fur - I get the impression that none of them would want to use real fur (they all worship foxes etc). Anyway, if I search for 'fur forum' or other such phrases, instead of getting places like this, I have been finding these forums about anthropomorphism instead. I believe I stumbled across this place searching for knitted fur and came via one of the individual threads.

But now that I'm here, it's great to be able to talk freely. Have a great New Year too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh! And while I'm thinking about it - I have read a lot of arguments against fur in the UK stating that the UK isn't cold enough to wear fur and that it should be 'easier to be moral'. Well, all I can say to that is that I've experienced hypothermia before after getting lost in the winter snow in the UK, and I was wearing so many layers - I bet that if one of those layers had been fur, I would have been fine.

And additionally, a few years ago, somebody died in the town we previously lived in, crossing the field next to our house. That was hypothermia. The UK - it's colder than people think!

I don't know if I'm a massive wuss or what but I feel the cold easily and I feel uncomfortably cold still in my winter coats. I've been known to wear a base layer, three jumpers, a windproof jacket and two pairs of gloves, with tights underneath my trousers to stay warm, and two pairs of socks - no exaggeration. Maybe I'm a pansy... but I'd prefer a hard-wearing fur.

 

And besides... wearing fur is still a personal choice anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

foxb, Welcome to the Fur Den! This is a community of people who appreciate the beauty of fur, and it's great to have people like you who are working with furs to create beautiful things:)

 

I would strongly advise you to create an online presence using all sorts of means and channels. I mean, go ahead and get yourself a nice blog, chronicling your studies on fur and other materials, on design, on fashion etc. Get on facebook, Google+, twitter etc, all linked together. I am sure you already have a personal account on facebook, but there you might have your friends and relatives. What I am talking about is a page (facebook allows the creation of pages for brands or famous personalities) or an altogether new (professional) identity. While you are at it, get on pinterest, instagram, lookbook.nu, fashiolista and wherever you can. In the past, artists and designers used to have portfolios, that is, samples of their past work that worked like a CV or resume. Nowadays, a portfolio is not enough. There is a charming Italian young designer, Samantha de Reviziis, who blogs at http://www.welovefur.com. If you follow her, you will see that she has managed to attract the attention of a few big fur firms. For you, it would be great if you could get enrolled in the design courses of Saga Furs. They teach all the great new techniques in these courses, and they are always on the lookout for fresh talent. Have you heard of Irina Ishinbayeva? She was the winner of the sixth season of the Project Runway series, and later she successfully presented her collections. If you look at her career, she attended the Saga Fur Design Centre, where she learned the cutting edge fur techniques. Finally, furriers' craft is a venerable tradition in which master furriers have passed on their knowledge and secrets through generations. Unfortunately that tradition is dying as the old masters age and they don't leave any heirs to their craft. So it would be great if you could work with a traditional furrier, even as an intern for a short time. It would be an invaluable experience. I am looking forward to following your success story!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that was an encouraging post. Thank you!

 

You're quite right that my social networking needs a boost for this choice that I'm making. I tend to not show any of my fashion work online (we've been advised not to put anything of our competitions or main collection online just yet) but there are certainly other things I could blog about until I can show it.

 

If I place in the top 8 in this competition, I will win the opportunity to go to a fur workshop - I believe it is Saga Fur. I can only do my best and hope that will happen, and if it doesn't, try to have enough of a presence to work my way in not by winning but by interview.

 

Thanks for the advice! I haven't felt more motivated for a while than I am right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

......I've been known to wear a base layer, three jumpers, a windproof jacket and two pairs of gloves, with tights underneath my trousers to stay warm, and two pairs of socks - no exaggeration.....

 

Your feet wouldn't be cold if you wore socks made of New Zealand brushtail possum fiber mixed with merino wool. Those socks would keep your feet toasty warm.

 

Tricia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for a fur coat being warm. The best analogy you can get is that wearing a fur coat is like sitting in front of a wood stove on a very cold night. Of course the problem is that today many people do not ever get the chance to experience that feeling. But it is exactly true.

 

W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foxb - welcome to the forum, may your designs flourish and prosper.

 

My 10cents worth.

A lot of people in the UK might be against new fur, but are prepared to wear 'vintage' fur. Whatever the reason, re-modelled fur is becoming more popular. New designs with good quality used fur might be both a challenge and rewarding.

For menswear, so many stereotypes have to be eroded, so good luck with men and fur.

I myself am using a mink scarf and a mink ushanka a lot of the time in Auz in the cooler months....and it is certainly colder in the UK. If more of us males got out 'there' wearing fur the issues would lessen.

Good quality menswear is all about timeless fashion with added extras, a suit with a fur scarf, perhaps fur collars but..... Fur lined coats / macs seems a great idea and warm.

Its almost that a little bit of fur shown 'ever so sleight' does not create howls of disdain.......its gently introduced.

.

Enough, good luck and enjoy

 

Auzmink.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the tips, Auzmink.

 

The idea for the contest is to design 6 outfits. I'm hoping to do a few with, as you say, added extras such as fur lining or trim or accessory, and a few that are a little more directional and - dare I say it - flamboyant, as far as men's fur goes. I think it's important to show a range of what is possible for menswear.

 

I've just confirmed today that I'm visiting a fur warehouse in London in a few weeks time - while I'm down there I'll visit furriers like Hockley, too. Really excited!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome foxb! I am sure I represent all her at "the den" who wish you the best in your upcoming fashion competition. However, it is discouraging to hear that your instructors/teachers/professors are against you using fur in your design. I myself am a college professor, and have given an assignment of where two teams of students must debate the different sides of a topic. Invariably students from one team say "you like the other hypothesis so you'll grade them better." My response is: "it doesn't matter what I think, what you have to do is support your argument with the data." My apologies for a convoluted story, but the point is: what your instructors believe should be irrelevant to them when they are evaluating the quality of your project. The design, the flow (my only descriptor for how well the garment lays on the model/subject...sorry I'm a science guy) as well as the aesthetics of the design. Their personal likes or dislikes should be irrelevant. As my mentor once said to me "don't fall in love with your data", meaning: we must all look at things objectively. Hopefully your instructors/professors can look at your creations with an unbiased eye, and simply judge your creations based on their design (and practicality).

 

I relate to your plight in many ways. I live in northern California in the central valley. It is not unusual for temperatures to peak at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in July. So the idea of wearing fur is very foriegn especially FOR A MAN! Through the camaraderie of the den, I have truly gotten the courage to proudly wear my rex rabbit fur jacket to the campus where I teach (which is also known to be "animal friendly"), downtown and just "out and about". It has been in the low 30's for the past week and is projected to to hover around the low 30's for the next week or so. Now I just wish I had a long COAT! At any rate, again a convoluted explanation, you don't have to think you're "a wuss" because you want to wear fur in "non-fur weather". As you have pointed out, many in your area have suffered hypothermia. This is not trivial.

 

I have been teased about my jacket. Some call it my "pimp coat" (it is rex rabbit dyed to look like chinchilla). I can go with that...sort of. My wife thinks only "gay guys war fur". HMM, interesting thought...my WIFE thinks what I wear is ONLY for gay guys...(this has been beaten into the ground here on the den). But you have another point that is "men in fur" that society needs to overcome. At any rate, again, the folks in the den have given me support to believe in myself. If YOU want to use fur in your designs, then do it. Again, hopefully your teachers/professors can see beyond their personal beliefs. Given that, I'll give you some "professor advice": if you are marked poorly on your project, AND you suspect it is because of the fur, then go to the department chair, or the dean of the school or college to question/protest your score. Lay out the facts, state your case and fight for a fair grade!

 

If you are having difficulty getting fur into the UK, would it be possible to receive a "gift" of pelts from friends? That is, would it be legal? Just a thought.

 

SOOOOO, WELCOME to the den! I look forward to seeing pictures of your creations!

 

JA

 

PS a rex rabbit (as stated above) is all I have as well. There's no shame in that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thankfully, the tutors I have the closest contact with are supportive. It's just unfortunate that one technique I would like to use would be easier with the aid of a tutor who would be so against helping with anything fur related - ah well!

 

I found your jacket in the photo collection, I think it looks great and I think it's a pity that your wife has the opinion she does. But I'm pleased that you can at least feel comfortable wearing it and that you will continue to wear it. So I'd like to offer my support too. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

 

I am not sure on how customs applies to gifts but I've heard from some people that during private trading (i.e. trading one pelt for another) overseas, they have had items destroyed at the border. However, if I stay in touch with this warehouse I'm visiting, that should put me in a good position to buy again.

 

If you're interested, here is my latest purchase. I haven't yet decided what to do with it. I was thinking of using it in accessories (bags, etc). It's a fallow deer skin. It is not really a wearable fur in terms of texture, but it is striking!

 

http://foxbane.deviantart.com/#/d5q4n1z

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...