Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for when buying a fur piece (new/used)?
- The pelt should be lustrous, supple and well-matched.
- Feel the fur for a dense, soft underfur evident to the touch under the glossy guard hairs which should be soft, never bristly.
- Seams should be sewn tightly. Hems should fall straight.
- Be sure to try on the garment to see if the weight is comfortable for you. You may be surprised at how lightweight many fur coats actually are.
- A well-made fur will be well-balanced and will fall evenly and comfortably from your shoulders.
- There should be a give to the leather side of the fur when horizontal tension is applied.
What kind of fur is my coat made out of?
Your best bet is to take your coat to a local fur retailer to evaluate your fur garment. Use our retailer locator to find a furrier in your area.
How much is my fur piece worth?
Take your fur into your local furrier or department store fur salon for an appraisal. Your furrier will not charge you for the evaluation. Check out our retailer locator to find a fur salon near you.
What should I do with my old fur?
Many people opt to restyle their fur, sell their fur or donate their fur to a local charity.
How do I go about restyling my fur?
From minor changes to an absolute revamping of your fur piece, a master furrier will walk you through all your restyling options. Our retailer locator will point you to a furrier in your area.
How should I go about selling my fur?
Contact your local furrier to inquire whether they purchase used coats. If they do not purchase used coats they will be happy to direct you to someone who does. In the past several years fur has become a particularly strong item for vintage clothing stores and they will often pay handsomely for your used fur. Another option is auctioning the coat on-line with a service such as E-bay. You will find a wide array of quality used and vintage furs for sale on-line.
Where can I donate my fur?
We recommend that you contact your local furrier, as most local furriers have donation programs with community based charities.
Why do I need to put my fur in cold storage, isn’t my closet good enough?
Home storage, using air conditioning or a cedar closet will not protect your fur from insect damage, drying out, becoming dirty or oxidizing which can discolor fur or change its texture.” Fur vaults specifically designed to protect the lasting quality of a fur garment offer temperature, humidity and light-controlled environments. Air exchange is carefully regulated with temperatures kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a constant humidity level of 50%. No closet in your home can duplicate these conditions adequately.
For more detailed information visit www.furcare.org
How have sales fared in recent years?
For 2011 US fur retail volume was $1.34billion…a 3.4% increase over the previous year Globally, sales reached $15billiion in 2011, a 7% increase from 2010. . More product at a wider range of price points available at more points of distribution fueled this increase as more designers are working with fur in creative adaptations ranging from full fur garments to trims and accessories. Once again in 2011 fur was cited as a key fashion trend for fall/winter.
This year customers seemed to be looking for shorter more fashion oriented pieces, often buying several pieces during the season. This resulted in higher unit sales volume albeit at lower price points than full-length garments. The net result, however, was an overall increase in total sales.
Mink remains the most popular fur representing approximately 70% of all fur sold at retail. Sheared mink continues to show strong growth as does knitted fur. Other fur types showing growth are broadtail, which has seen an increase in use for both outerwear and ready to wear looks. Fox and beaver, popular for trims, have also experienced growth.
Looking at fur sales over the longer term, sales today stand nearly 34% above early 1990 levels fueled by fur’s prominence as a luxury textile. Well over 500 international designers now include fur in their collections offering more product at more price points in silhouettes and styles and accessories that appeal to a broader audience than ever before. And beyond the traditional fur retailer, fur fashions can now be found in departments throughout major high-end department stores as well as an increasing number of designer boutiques and specialty retailers.
Despite this overall positive sales trend the industry did experience dips in some years due to weather and the economy. In 2006 and 2007 the US experienced some of the warmest winter weather in recorded history leading to sales declines. This was followed by the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 that impacted retail and luxury retail across the board. But, while fur faced declines of 15.5% in 2008 and 7% in 2009, the industry outperformed other relatable categories including luxury apparel, coats and jewelry that experienced declines of 15 – 30% during this same period.
To what do you attribute this strong consumer demand?
Innovations in design and manufacturing have allowed designers to use fur in more creative ways than ever before. New techniques in dying, laser cutting and micro-shearing, embellishment and other treatments have allowed the creation of a much broader range of silhouettes and products that appeal to a much broader range of consumers. Add to that the fact that fur is seen in so many more retail outlets and supported by such strong fashion editorial.
Why is fur in fashion now?
Innovations in fur manufacturing and design have made fur the “fabric” of choice among over 400 designers world wide. New techniques of shearing, dying, knitting and integrating fur with other fabrics have allowed designers to use fur more creatively, adapting its use to high fashion ranging from glamorous evening wear to street chic. Manufacturing innovations that allow fur to be much lighter in weight (though just as warm as before) have added to its design flexibility. This new creativity coupled with the unique, tactile benefits of fur and its luxury appeal make it the ultimate fabric for adding a dash of luxury and spirit to any collection.
Where can I learn more about fur the fur industry?
Check out our Resource listing for links to the fur industry. From fashion and manufacturing to farming and trade history these sites will have what you’re looking for.
Where can I take a class on fur design & manufacturing?
Many design schools include fur manufacturing & design as one segment of study within their design curriculum. Additionally, many retailers have artisans on staff who are often willing to provide training and education.
Historically, what has been the most popular fur (men/women)?
Historically, mink has maintained its popularity among both men and women.
The animal rights movement continues to target the fur industry. Haven’t they been responsible for the previous declines in fur sales?
According to research done by Responsive Management, a public opinion research firm specializing in environmental conservation and wildlife issues, 88% of all Americans say that the animal rights movement had no influence on their decision to buy (or not buy) fur. In fact, 92% said they disapprove of the tactics used by animal activists. The recession of 1987 through the early 90′s was the primary reason for the decline in fur sales.
How do you respond to those who say wearing fur is wrong?
What one chooses to wear is a matter of personal choice. We respect the decision of those who choose not to wear fur just as we respect the decision of those who choose not to eat meat. But if a person chooses to wear fur, or eat meat, they should be able to do so free of harassment. When consumers consider the truth about the fur industry they will recognize that the fur is a natural, responsible choice.
Various animal rights groups routinely distribute graphic videos of animals being tortured or living in horrifying conditions. Have you seen these videos?
Yes, we’ve seen them. In many cases members of our industry have asked for verification of authenticity on these tapes and never received it. And, in fact, in some cases it has been proven that the footage was staged in order to create these films.
The production of farmed and wild furs in the US is regulated by state and federal government authorities, and by industry codes of practice in conjunction with scientific advice from a panel of highly respected veterinary scientists.
In common with all livestock, domesticated furbearers such as farm-raised mink and fox come under the jurisdiction of state departments of agriculture. Meanwhile, any furbearing animals taken from the wild, for any reason, come under the jurisdiction of state departments of natural resources or state fish and wildlife agencies.
In the animal welfare department, state statutes cover everything from mistreatment and neglect, to intentional cruelty, and reports are investigated by the appropriate local and/or state agency, oftentimes both. Under current anti-cruelty statutes, anyone who mistreats an animal faces investigation, prosecution, fines, jail time and even the loss of his animals.
With so many good fake furs out there why should the consumer choose real fur?
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. The proliferation of fake fur only proves the point that fur is in fashion! But, no matter how good the fake, it will never have the warmth, the feel or the durability of real fur.
In today’s environmentally conscious society, consumers should also recognize that the manufacture of fake fur utilizes non-renewable petroleum-based resources. Real fur, on the other hand, may be considered the “green” alternative as it is a renewable, sustainable resource. In fact, it should be noted that the populations of animals used by the fur industry today are as abundant – or more abundant – than a century ago.
Further, in a study titled “Environmental Consequences of Textile Marketing” undertaken at Oregon State University in 1997 a broad range of textiles including wool, leather, fur, cotton, silk, linen, rayon, polyester, nylon and acrylic were evaluated across a number of environmental variables. For a textile to be considered compatible with the environment it had to be non-polluting to obtain, process, fabricate, maintain and dispose; 100% biodegradable; long-lasting; renewable; reusable; natural/non-toxic; energy efficient to obtain and produce and producing minimal waste in it’s production. In composite scoring across all environmental criteria, the farmed and wild fur outperformed all other textiles. So, one must ask, is fake fur really preferable?
Animal rights supporters suggest that fur is just a vanity item. Don’t most people wear fur just to show off?
No. The number one reason given by consumers when asked why they purchased their fur is warmth.
There seems to be a growing trend within the animal rights community to use such tactics as mink releases and vandalism at fur salons in order to get their point across. Supporters say this is the only way the public will listen, and besides, they take great measures to make sure no person is ever hurt. Aren’t these just noble warriors standing by their moral convictions?
We must remember that these animal activists are criminals, not heroes. Their actions destroy personal property, threaten individuals, and cost taxpayers unnecessary dollars for police activity and court costs. Their acts are criminal and must be recognized as such. Quite simply, a fire set in a furniture store would result in the perpetrator being arrested and punished to the extent of the law. Why should it be any different in the case of a fur store? With their threats, their intimidation and their malicious, destructive acts, government and law enforcement are now recognizing animal activists as “domestic terrorists”.
How can you justify the horrible conditions that exist for animals on farms?
Do not be misled by the false propaganda and fabricated materials presented by animal rights activists. The respect the farmer has for his animals and land is well documented and today’s farm-raised furbearers are among the best cared-for livestock. Good nutrition, comfortable housing and prompt veterinary care have resulted in domestic animals very well suited to the farm environment. Only the healthiest and best cared for animals produce the finest pelts, and it is precise attention to animal care and strict adherence to animal husbandry guidelines and recommendations that enable farmers to produce the quality fur that is demanded in today’s marketplace.
For more information on fur farming visit www.furcommission.com
What about trapping? Isn’t it unnecessary and cruel?
Wildlife biologists and wildlife management officials agree that fur bearers are so abundant in the U.S. today that overpopulation poses a threat to their own welfare. Failure to properly manage these populations will result in disaster for the animals, their habitats and the people who must share space with them. Trapping is the most efficient method of controlling overpopulation and is a highly regulated practice that uses state-of-the-art methodology developed through years of research at the international level. Further, wildlife professionals need trapping to monitor and curb the incidences of wildlife diseases such as rabies, lyme disease and distemper. The potential for sale of pelts only adds to the incentive for trappers to perform this vital function.
Does the fur industry use endangered species?
The international fur trade does not trade in endangered species and all furs used by the trade are abundant.
The fur trade’s commitment to conservation is shown by the fact that when there has been doubt that sustained yields can be maintained, it has financed research to investigate the position. In fact, since 1978, IFTF has contributed more than US$ 5 million in support of a wide range of fur animal welfare and conservation projects. The fur trade has supported any resulting recommendations to regulate or restrict trade, if based upon sound scientific evidence.
In the early 1970′s prior to the introduction of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the international fur trade imposed its own voluntary moratorium on trade in leopard and other species pending the outcome of scientific research into their status. Since then, IFTF has helped to finance a number of important research projects into the population status of various fur-bearers.
The International Fur Trade Federation has a close working relationship with leading conservation organizations including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which acts to regulate commercial trade in threatened or endangered species, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). IFTF has been a voting member of the latter since 1985.