Fur fabulous fur

Winifred Adeyemi

It's cold outside. The wind howls like a predatory wolf. The sky is grey. The mood is bleak. It is the perfect time of year to treat yourself to the ultimate luxury and winter bonus: a fabulous fur coat.


Times have changed and the market with it: you are more likely to spot a rabbit fur jacket in a high-street shop window than an activist with a tin of red paint poised to pounce around a vanity square corner.


Designers have been integrating fur as a core element of their collections since the turn of the millennium. Where the precious fabric was once feared and closeted it is now feted and flaunted. No more token gestures; fur is everywhere and here to stay: woven seamlessly into the consumer psyche it has now become a second skin to bona fide members of the fashion pack.


Women have been fascinated and seduced by the sumptuous stroke, insulating warmth and glamorous appeal of luxuriant pelts from the period of cave-dwelling to the decadent days of Old Hollywood, when a leading lady was not a star if she wasn't caressed by a touch of mink.


Earlier this season the directional September issue of 11 national editions of Vogue magazine featured the  "Not Your Grandmother's Fur" campaign introducing a refreshingly modern sensibility to fur fashion and exploring the timeless enthralment women of all generations have with the plush stuff. Sybaritic fluff by the likes of Barbara Bui, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera, Carlos Miele and Moschino enticed from the glossy pages, provoking decadent desire (or disgusted distaste) in over 50 million readers worldwide.

 "Working with Vogue on such a creative campaign offers consumers, designers, fashion insiders and retailers the opportunity to view the breadth and range of fur in fashion for this season." Andreas Lenhart, IFTF Chairman.

Many people believe that fur equals suffering and is a precursor to animal extinction. The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) promotes strict codes of practise that meet or exceed current animal welfare standards for both wild and farmed fur and as supporters and sponsors of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) its members never handle scarce species.


The IFTF industry regulations include statutes that protect the environment and consumers and endorse sustainable wildlife management and humane farming practises. On 29th November 2007 at the International Herald Tribune's Supreme Luxury Conference held at Moscow's State Historical Museum, the IFTF introduced an international labelling programme as part of its commitment to transparency.


The Origin Assured Label (OA) guarantees that the fur or fur product you plan to purchase comes from a country where local or national regulations or standards governing fur production are enforced.

 "The really strong designer brands are uncompromising in their dedication to quality and luxury. Fur delivers on that brand promise for these design houses."

Just as it is within the animal kingdom it is so within the fashion industry: survival is for the fittest. In an era of counterfeiting and a consumer passion for looking chic on the cheap, fur has remained one of the most exclusive fabrics: impossible to fake perfectly and a traditional cornerstone of the luxury brand's heritage of craftsmanship, quality and aspiration.

Types of fur

BearFoxMoleSkunk (Zorina)
Chinese Leopard CatLipi CatPonyZibeline










Did you know?

  • It takes one gallon of oil to make three fake fur coats. Harsh dyes are also used to replicate authentic fur (a renewable resource) and release some of the most toxic chemicals and highly carcinogenic poisons during the production process.Such emissions are destructive to the environment and diminish the health of third-world factory workers and their families who may live in close proximity to the plant.
  • A fake fur coat is usually viewed as a seasonal trend rather than an enduring investment so is more likely to be thrown away once a fashion moment has passed.Unlike natural fur which will quickly return to the earth- as oil products -nylon and polyester are non-biodegradable, so once discarded fake fur garments plug up landfills and continue polluting the earth centuries after their wearers have passed.
  • A recent scientific study conducted in Germany confirmed what designers and consumers have always known: natural fur is the best armour in the battle against the elements. When compared with two natural fur coats (coyote and mink), a faux-furcoat was found to be less insulating at all temperatures. Natural fur is also softer, warmer and has greater wearability than any faux option as like leather it allows the skin to breathe.