Don’t call it a comeback. Fur is becoming a fashion favorite again. After years of being protested, it took a backseat as being a dated option only for the rich and famous. But fashion comes around in cycles, and fur is making a return to the style arena.
According to the Fur Information Council of America, fur retail sales have been trending upward since 2010. The International Fur Trade Federation also reports that global sales have more than doubled from $15.6 billion in 2011 to $35.8 billion in 2013.
So what changed? Established fashion houses along with new designers are incorporating more furs in their shows. While a $15,000 Saint Lauren fur coat may only available for a few shoppers, the visibility of fur is on full display for the entire world.
Fashion followers get inspiration from the runway and carry it to their local fur shop. Fur lovers are leaving their grandma’s minks in the closet and opting for more lithe silhouettes like shorter fur jackets and shawls. Celebrities fashion is also trending into more fur style. Celebs like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian proudly wear fur.
Rising designers like Christian Helmer, from Denmark, says working for furrier during school opened his eyes to the beauty and possibilities of fur:
“During public school we had to do an internship at a local company. I ended up working in a fur manufacturer, where I was surrounded by these fantastic materials that were transformed into garments. To see something, the raw material, transformed into modern garments, was fantastic.”
Fur organizations help other young artists launch their careers by sponsoring design contests. Winning a global contest such as this helps establish their name in the fashion industry.
While some fashion companies still chose to not use fur, fashion titans like Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, and Michael Kors are using fur in more creative, artistic ways.
The fur industry is driven by two forces: old clients and new clients. The older clients see fur as a luxury item and save it for special occasions. The new fur connoisseur is an expansive range of customers including young fashionistas to working women who want a touch of elegance in their everyday wardrobe.
Social media is also an active influence in fur fashion. #Realfur is a trending topic throughout Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram encouraging users to post their fur selfies. During the last decades, fur was solely viewed as a luxury piece for the famous, but it’s now used to express artistic individuality. Social media users model all kinds of furs from sable to fox in dyed hues to natural tans.
Fur is seeing a return because of a combination of designer interest, celebrity styles, and fresh interest from new audiences.