Posts Tagged ‘eco-fur’

Eco-Fur in the US

October 13, 2008

One of our re-sellers in the US has featured lately in some press regarding eco-fur. Chrys Hutchings is really working hard to dispel the myths regarding possum fur, and particularly the misconceptions North Americans have regarding Possums and Opossums!

Here’s the link to the article from OrgeonLive.com.

The article features an interesting quote from Helen Bain from Royal Forest and Bird:

“They’re probably the Number One threat to our native species, to the birds and native forest plants of New Zealand,” Bain said. An expanded fur trade “would be helpful” in dealing with the problem, she said.

New Zealanders aren’t big on fur coats, Bain said. But there are a lot of possum fur accessories available in the country, including hats, ear muffs and — don’t try to picture this — possum lingerie. More popular are sweaters and scarves with blends of Merino wool and possum fur. 

It is interesting to hear an American’s take on the Possum problem in NZ, even if there are NO grounds for comparing it to the Mink trade!

Can wearing fur be guilt-free?

September 19, 2008

This article appeared in the online Independent this week. It started off talking about designer Chie Imai who designs under the name Royal Chie, and her ‘Eco Harmony’ range of mink and chinchilla (up to £42,000 for a cape, eep!).  Her take on ‘ecological fur’ is an interesting one

As Imai says, fur can be worn for generations, is organic, causes no pollution, and “returns to the earth”.

The article quotes Possum New Zealand’s take on the marsupial morass

Others, such as Possum NZ, a company run by Teresa Angliss in New Zealand, have already started making hats, scarves and gilets from possum fur.  The animals were originally brought to the country in the 1800s to establish a fur trade, and without a natural predator they bred like, well, possums. Possum-haters say that there are now 17 of these animals for every human on the island.

Eco Fur in India!

August 26, 2008

Indian Fashion Week was held back in March, and we’ve just noticed that one of the fashion houses Lecoanet Hemant was using New Zealand Possum fur in their collection! Here’s a link to the article from Yahoo! India.

Possum Fur KGB Hat

They had a range of Possum fur jackets in their collection, although the picture in the article is of an après-ski hat in white Possum fur. This looks quite similar to our very own KGB hat.

It’s nice to see Possum being utilized in markets other than our own.

If I had one concern it was this quote

It’s also very interesting fur because it’s the only one you can wash in a machine.

Please, whatever you do, DON’T wash your Possum fur in the machine! You can gently wash Possum Merino yarn, but I would never recommend washing a Possum garment or scarf.

If you’re unsure but would like to see some fur care instructions, have a look on the Possum NZ website.

Why is Possum Fur so Warm?

July 25, 2008

We often get feedback from our customers that their Possum fur pillows and throws seem to radiate heat after they’ve been lying on them, similar to a wheat bag just out of the microwave.

This is predominantly due to the makeup of the Possum fur fibre itself. The fibre has a variegated texture which causes neighbouring fibres to cling to one and other minimizing the amount of heat loss.

Hollow Possum Fur Fibre

But the Possum fur fibre has another trick up its sleeve in the heat stakes. A hollow core! Warm air is trapped in the shaft of the fibre. This helps to make Possum fur one of the warmest natural fibres (after Polar bear, of course).

This is great for the Brushtail Possum – out in the cold and eating its way through the Kaingaroa Forest.

But it’s even better for you. Not only are you helping the New Zealand eco-system, you’re ensuring that your winters will be warm and cheery!

Fur Farming vs. Wild Fur

July 21, 2008

The fur farming industry began in the late nineteenth century in Canada. Since then, demand for fur-farmed pelts has grown and now makes up 85% of the worlds fur supply. The vast majority of farmed animals are mink and fox. The methods for killing the pelts vary from species to species.

While fur farming is banned in many countries, the traditional fur farming regions are North America and Northern Europe. However, in recent years China has become the world’s largest importer and re-exporter of fur.

There was a major decline in demand for fur during the 1990’s, largely due to concerns regarding the inhumane treatment of the animals, and the assertion that animal welfare was being sacrificed for profit. Since the year 2000 there has been a climbing demand for fur, and this resurgence has coincided with a rise in disposable income in lands like China and Russia.

Fur Farm

As with most types of farming, the conditions that animals are kept in are varied. For example, in cages minks (generally solitary animals) display negative behaviour such as endless pacing. Another factor that gives cause for concern is the build-up of fecal matter. This is often cited as a cause for poor animal health.

Fur trappers argue that fur from animals that live their whole lives in the wild is of better quality.

New Zealand’s burgeoning Possum eco-fur industry is strictly ‘free-range’. Because New Zealand has no native land mammals (other than the Pekapeka or Bat) there is no farmed-fur industry. The importation of mink is banned, so the only fur-bearing species is the feral Australian Brushtail Possum.

With over 70 million Possums having a negative impact on the eco-system, trapping plays an integral part in the Possum eradication strategy.

In New Zealand gin traps have been prohibited through by-laws, but there have been concerns regarding how humane the leg-hold traps are. From January 2008, the New Zealand government has introduced strict new laws regarding what traps can be used, in an effort to minimize suffering and distress for the Possums.

New Zealand Native Bush

The wild Possum fur is magnificent, particularly if it comes from the South Island of New Zealand. The verdant native bush provides plenty of food for the Possum to grow large, and the colder climate results in a thicker fur – just perfect for our warm Possum Fur throws!

While humane fur farms will never go away, we believe that New Zealand Possum fur is the best alternative.

By purchasing garments made from feral Possum fur, you’re helping with our eradication plan, and getting a wonderfully warm product. Plus, since the Possum is so abundant, there is no shortage of raw materials. This means that compared to furs like mink and fox, Possum is incredibly economical. Buy a Possum and save a forest!

Eco-Fur in the USA

July 4, 2008

The following article appeared in the On Style section of the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago. It is interesting to note the confusion between the North American Opossum and the Brushtail Possum. Click here to read the full article.

Possum has a bad name in the U.S., through no fault of its own. The Australian brushtail possum isn’t related to the North American opossum, a less-adorable marsupial with a ratlike tail, but many folks in the U.S. don’t know the difference.

The US company quoted in the article – Eco-Luxury Fur, stocks Possum New Zealand’s shorn possum fur throws.

Faux Fur. What’s the Real Cost?

June 20, 2008

There are all sorts of issues surrounding fur and we realise that it’s not for everybody.

One of the main proposed alternatives to real fur is faux-fur. But it’s worth remembering in this age of environmental awareness that there are two sides to every coin. Many consumers purchase faux-fur thinking that they’re getting the best of both worlds: a stylish warm product and a nice warm-fuzzy for Mother Nature.

Sadly the opposite is true.

By-products of the faux-fur industryMost faux fur is made from polyester, nylon or a synthetic polymer of Nitrile – the same stuff used in industrial PVC and rubber. Take a swing by your friendly neighbourhood rubbish dump and you’ll see ample evidence of what your faux-fur coat could be made out of!

Products like this make a major environmental impact. They require lots of chemicals in their production, and one of the many by-products of this is greenhouse gas. Unfortunately, once you’ve finished with it, the problem just gets worse. Synthetic products are non-biodegradable, so they clog up landfills for years after they’ve been disposed of.

Synthetic products have negative environmental ramifications, both in making them and disposing of them.

Which brings us to fur. And more specifically in the context of this blog, Possum fur. Many people look at the ‘eco-fur’ label and say “well, that’s just clever marketing; it’s still the fur trade.” But is it?

NZ Native BushIn New Zealand the environmental impact of the Brushtail Possum is well known. But don’t take our word for it. This is the National Geographic’s take on it. The New Zealand Department of Conservation themselves acknowledge that there is no one solution, and their current 1080 poison creates other problems.

That’s why the ‘eco-fur’ tag is appropriate for Possum. Every animal taken out of our eco-system helps a little with the delicate balance. Lots of small actions add up to a greater whole.

The numbers speak for themselves. 70,000,000 possums eating 8,000,000 tons of New Zealand native bush every year. Eeep! That’s why we believe that a commercially driven strategy, hand-in-hand with an eradication program will have the best long term results.

New Zealand's Native ForestsSo how do you differentiate the PR spin from the real story? One word: Awareness.

We’re not going to tell you what to wear. That’s your personal decision. What we do say is: dig a little deeper. Do some research. Check out the manufacturer’s claims.

Just because something is labelled ‘green’ it doesn’t necessarily do the planet a favour.