European merchants began to realise the wealth involved with fur trading around the 1600’s. Most of the animals were killed in North America and then imported to many different places in Europe. Fox fur became a major part of the American economy.
Fox fur became a large part of the luxury fashion industry and by the Victorian era, Fur coats became a popular item in the wardrobes of rich, powerful women who had an interest in fashion. By the end of the 19th Century fur trading could not keep up with the demand of Fox fur and Fur farms had to be introduced. These were places where the foxes were kept and bred in captivity, purely for the production of fur, rather than having to go out and hunt them in their natural habitats.
Fox farming started on Prince Edward’s Island in the 1890’s. The demand for fox furs peaked in the 1930’s. All different species were bred including silver, blue, platinum and white (Arctic) fox. These were more rare and therefore more sought after than regular fox fur. After the Second World war, the fox fur industry declined, having been overshadowed by Mink fur. By the 1950’s Red fox fur was deemed ‘Practically Unsellable.’
The group PETA was formed in 1976 to help regulate the conditions and manufacture of fox fur and in 2002 Fur farming was banned altogether in the UK
Properties of Fox
- Available in many different colours, depending on the species
- Comfortable to wear
- Can be dyed easily
- Can be shorn down to produce a ‘velvet’ fabric
Uses of Fox in Fashion Past and Present
- Fur Stoles
- Fur Coats
- Men generally had fur linings on their coats, as a status of power and wealth
- Whereas the women had fur trims on their coats such as the collars and the cuffs
- Was used to make Indian clothing
- Generally replaced nowadays by synthetic ‘faux’ fur because of the moral implications associated with real fur
- Winter coats
- Boot Trims
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