Fur has been used as a fabric since Neanderthal times. During this time it was used purely because of its insulating properties. It was derived from the animal which had been killed for its mean. This meant that it was otherwise going to be a waste product, and using it meant less waste was produced.
Around the 1600’s tribes in America realised how lucrative the Fur trading industry could be and started producing fur, without any consideration for the meat of the animal. Animals such as Mink, Beaver, Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Stoat and Otter were all used for their fur. Fur is still used in many cultures and civilisations. Inuits relied heavily on fur as a form of insulation from the cold climates. It is also a huge part of traditional Russian, Japanese and Scandinavian fashion. Fur was very popular throughout the 19th Century. In Britain it was a sign of elegance, wealth and power. Every woman who was interested in fashion wanted a fur coat in her wardrobe.
Many things have accounted for the decline in the popularity of fur. These things are the introduction of synthetic materials. These materials can be manufactured to have all the desirable properties of fur without having to harm any animals in their production.
A group of Anti-Fur campaigners called PETA set up their organisation in 1976. They held many campaigns and tried to get fur production illegalised. By 2002 Fur farming was illegal and wearing fur had a moral and environmental stigma attached to it.
Properties of Fur
- Warm to wear
- Lasts well
- Comfortable to wear
- Requires lots of aftercare
Uses of Fur in Fashion Past and Present
- Fur isn’t used as frequently nowadays because of the moral implications attached to it. Some designers refuse to use. Stella McCartney does not use any kind of animal products in her work, as it goes against her beliefs.
- Whole Garments
- Fur Trims
- Linings in men’s jackets
- Mittens and gloves
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