Rabbit/Hare Manufacture

Rabbit fur is the pelt from the common rabbit, it is usually a by product of the meat industry and is produced mainly in England and Wales. The rabbit is usually killed before it is 12 weeks old so the quality of fur tends to be lower than if the rabbit had been older.

The best time to get Rabbit fur is in the winter as the fur is thicker and more even, there are no thinner patches like there is in summer. It is also better if the rabbit is over 5 months old as the fur will be of a better quality.

Up until the 20th Century Rabbit fur robes were worn by the Native Americans. The reasons for this were the fact that they kept the wearer warm and because of the amount of Rabbits available. The first known use of Rabbit fur was 9 or 10 thousand years ago and they were used frequently until the 1800’s. As many as 100 rabbit pelts were needed for a woman’s robe. These were very difficult to prepare ready for processing. Once modern materials and processing systems became more common, rabbit robes faded in popularity. Hunting was also eventually limited to maintain Rabbit population levels.

Belgian Hares which are a European breed of Rabbit gained popularity in the early 1900’s, purely because it was bigger and this meant there was more both mean and fur available.

Properties of Rabbit/Hare

  • Rabbits are plentiful so Rabbit fur is less expensive than a lot of other furs, such as Mink or Beaver.
  • Often dyed to resemble more expensive rarer furs, quite often dark brown to replicate Mink
  • Warm to wear
  • Naturally available in many different shades
  • Bulky
  • Heavy
  • Does not conform to the shape of the body
  • Attracts moths and other vermin
  • Soft

Uses of Rabbit/Hare in Fashion Past and Present

  • Mainly used in hats and coats
  • Was very popular on the catwalks in 1991
  • Used by designers such as Tom Ford, Sonia Rykiel, Alexander McQueen and Roberto Cavalli
  • Gained popularity during WWII as it was a cheap, common replacement for other types of fur
  • Scarves
  • Boots
  • Gilets
  • Trims and Decoration
  • Other Garments

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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