Squirrels have been hunted since the early 16th Century, they were mainly traded in Siberia as it was the second most popular fur that was traded at this time. The most popular was Sable. The only fur that was traded to start with was that that was a by-product of the meat industry. Squirrel fur was increasingly popular in the early 20th Century.
In medieval times, squirrels were hunted purely for their fur, because of the naturally vivid colour that doesn’t require dying, but squirrels are mainly hunted for their meat or because of the fact that they are classed as vermin and the number required minimising at some points in history. One of the most popular years for squirrel hunting was 1839 when 2,700,000 Squirrels were imported from France to Scotland.
The blue-grey pelts are the most valuable in the fur-trading industry. It is also the best quality. Red Squirrels are highly protected; it is illegal to kill them for any reason at all. This was first introduced in 1981, meaning that Squirrel fur products today are either made using the fur of the grey squirrel or they are vinage pieces manufactured before this time.
Properties of Squirrel
- Thick fur
- Can be various colours, but can also be dyed
- Small pelts so not as versatile
- Warm to wear
Uses of Squirrel in Fashion Past and Present
- Small pelts which are used for trims, collars and decorations
- Used mainly in Siberia for hats and gloves
- Used in Medieval times for lining clothes
- Warm clothing
- Manufacture of fur boas which were strips of fur wrapped around the neck of ladies
- Used more recently in the womens fashion industry
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