There are three sources for both precious and ordinary furs: nature, fur farming, and the food industry. In the 19th century, nature was the main source of fur. Today the major sources are fur farms and the food industry, which together represent almost 85% of the fur supply.
The furrier is the person who makes fur garments from raw materials, fleeces or skins. Only the finished garment is called fur, and the skin or fleece undergoes several more or less lengthy processes before it is turned into a coat, jacket or cape. The various processes depend on the type and origin of the skins and what is expected of the finished garment. Before the skins arrive in the furrier’s workshop, they have usually already been washed, salted, dried, then washed and dried again.
Fur is still very fashionable in haute couture, as is shown by Balmain’s inclusion of silver fox hats and stoles in its winter collection. The luxury label Loro Piana presents a discreet variation on the theme of the fur coat, using snug, cozy fur as the lining of the fur coat. After a few seasons of relative absence on the catwalks, fur has made a fashion comeback even among the young.
Like other garments, fur coats can also be bought off the rack. But a lady who wants a perfectly made, well-fitting item should have it made-to-measure by the furrier. As usual, the cost is greater but so is the satisfaction given by the result.