Despite what may sometimes seem like a growing anti-fur trend in fashion, the Times of London reports today that global prices for mink pelts have never been higher, reaching record levels over the last two years. The primary source of such growing demand reportedly comes from China and Russia, where the soft stuff is considered hotter than mod. But in North America, too, the cost of mink has more than doubled since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Despite fashion labels that have publicly boycotted the use of fur—Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger—there are still plenty of others who favor using real fuzzy flesh in their garments. In our November interview with Ingrid Newkirk, the president and co-founder of PETA, she questioned the ethics and motives of fashionistas like Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaulteir, calling them “desperate.”
“Fashion has changed,” the co-owner of Connecticut Furs, Harry Sitilides, told the British paper. “We now see fur as any other fabric. It’s just another piece of cloth. We use fur for trimmings, but also weave it with other materials and dye it. The average age of a woman who now buys a fur coat has fallen dramatically. Twenty years ago my main customers would have been the older woman.”
What’s more, fur clothing is actually viewed by many as a “green” alternative to other textiles. “Fur is the grand-daddy of green. It comes from a renewable, sustainable resource. There is very little pollution involved in the production of it and it is biodegradeable,” said Keith Kaplan, a rep from the Fur Information Council of America.
For those hoping to tread against the mink surge, there’s still one company willing to turn your fur coat into a lovable, stuffed teddy bear.