Environmentally Friendly Fur_208Recently, a young woman came into our salon to look at a fur coat.  While she was in the store, we started chatting.  She was talking about how much she loved fur, and how much most of the women her age love them too. She often feels badly about admitting they enjoy wearing their fur garments. The client revealed during our conversation that she had been at a charity event at an outdoor venue in Phoenix in January of 2013.  In her words, “there were so many women wearing furs, but they all made excuses about why it was okay to wear their particular garment—they weren’t doing anything wrong—it belonged to their grandmother—they never bought one new etc, etc, etc”.   This young gal could not understand how intelligent adult women should feel like they had to apologize for wearing whatever makes them feel comfortable, glamorous, fashionable, and good about themselves.  As I think about the conversation, it’s a bit surprising to me that with all we have tried to do as a society in order to empower women, many still feel like they can’t stand up for themselves when it comes to defending personal choices.   Even more concerning is that women feel as if they have to justify their choices to anyone.   It goes without saying that a vast majority of men would never put up with someone intimidating them about anything, let alone about their choice of clothing.

The conversation inspired me to write this article about the upside of wearing fur.  Maybe some of the very women who are not wearing their garments because they don’t want to “feel like they have to explain themselves” will realize that by wearing a natural product, they are supporting one of the most important causes of our time—preserving our environment.

Fur is green.  Real fur is an organic material.  Fake fur and any other synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum products.  These products do not break down easily and remain in landfills for centuries.  I could bore you with the scientific explanation on how the natural product breaks down and why the mineral fibers do not, but it’s pretty mundane—take my word for it, just like anything natural, fur products are biodegradable and eventually return to the earth.  They will not pile up in landfills, exacerbating our ecological and environmental problem of waste building.

Environmentally Friendly Fur_200-pinterestFur processing is earth friendly.  The main chemicals used to “dress” furs are table salt, water, alum salts, soda ash, sawdust, cornstarch, lanolin, and other natural ingredients.  Small quantities of formaldehyde can be used to protect fur follicles during dressing or dying and gentle acids such as acetic acid (better known as vinegar) are also used.  Fur “dressing” and coloring are relatively mild processes as they must be in order to preserve the fur and maintain the natural beauty of the product.  And, since most furs are available in an extraordinary array of natural colors, only a small portion of them are dyed.

Fur is a renewable, sustainable resource.  Worldwide, the fur industry uses only part of what nature produces each year.  The industry does this so that wildlife populations are not depleted and damage is not done to the natural habitat that sustains them.  Generally, plants and animals produce more offspring than the land can support to maturity.  Like other species, we live by making use of part of the surplus that nature creates.  Conservationists define this use as “sustainable use” of renewable resources.  Synthetics, as mentioned above, are made from the non-renewable resource petroleum.  This is NOT consistent with the sustainable use of our environment. Production, transportation and disposal of this chemical can cause environmental problems.  All furs used by the fur industry are abundant.  Absolutely NO ENDANGERED SPECIES are used by the fur trade.  One of the goals of the fur trade is to help to maintain long term ecological balance and to support wildlife management.  By doing so, we also help to ensure our industries’ future!

Environmentally Friendly Fur_180-pinterestFur is durable and recyclable.  Well cared for fur garments are long lasting and hardy.  Furs are one of the few clothing items that are often passed down thru multiple generations.  Most of the time, there is sentimental meaning and memories associated with a fur.  Unlike most other textiles, furs can be remodeled and updated.  Fur restyling is a very big part of our business.   Not only can a fur be made into another outerwear garment, but it can be repurposed to make handbags, pillows, keepsake teddy bears, and many types of home accessories and gift items.  Millions of tons of mass-produced, cheap disposable fashion garments are filling up landfills at a pace that the environment can’t possibly keep up with.  Naturally durable, reusable and of course beautiful fur has never been a better choice!

Ladies, now that you are fully educated on the many virtues of fur, go out there and wear your garment with pride.  Fur season is upon us, so enjoy! And don’t forget to stop in and see all the wonderful new fur garments and accessories that will make your winter and holiday season supremely enjoyable!

Originally published at evansfursandleathers.com