Posts Tagged ‘Possum Fur’

Ms Possum, Intrepid Traveler and Fur Researcher

March 4, 2010

Hello Possums

Yep, it’s the big freeze in the Northern Hemisphere, but spare a thought for Ms Possum getting a tad hot under the collar in 97% humidity and temperatures in the high 20’s here in Auckland, New Zealand. Phew!

However, at the beginning of the year I was over your way just in time to experience the UK’s coldest winter in decades.  Yeah, had to go then as Possum NZ shut the factory for a few weeks, like any other self respecting manufacturer in this neck of the woods. This was my chance to research the fur scene away from home once more. The things I do for the sake of work, huh? It’s a tough life!

So, I’m in the UK freezing my little possum merino sox off and what better way to keep warm but to go shopping.  I didn’t need much inducement with all the 50-70% off sales in full swing and the newish Westfield undercover shopping mall at Shepherd’s Bush that went on forever – a girls’ paradise, if ever I saw one! Check out some of my pix from this colossus of a place:
Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

It was survival of the fittest here, as the bargains were worth fighting over and then there were queues for the changing rooms and at the checkouts.  It was retail at an adrenalin pumping, manic level that has to be seen to be believed.

I almost didn’t survive the “River Island” experience – more clothes on the floor than on the hangers and all these vicious females grabbing armfuls of goodies like there was no tomorrow! Argghhh! Yes Possums, the claws were out and I fought bravely, but the foe outnumbered me!

UGG Store at Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London The above queues however, paled into insignificance to the looooong line snaking outside of the “Ugg Shop”.  Here were all these patient shoppers waiting in haphazard formation for up to 45 minutes (according to the security guard who only let a few in at a time) to spend 200 quid plus.  Yep, reverse psychology was being well used here – everyone else on sale but Ugg was holding its prices.  (Click on the image to see full size version on Flickr)


Why am I telling you this?

Well, I’ve just designed a new footwear range and mixed New Zealand possum fur with sheepskin, plus gone a tad dotty with our New Zealand Friesian Cow skin Moomoo range that has random spots plastered all over the show.

They look funky and feel delightfully soft and spongey on the inside.  I’ve also specified heavy duty gridded soles for the boots and non slip flexi soles for the slippers.  OK, they don’t have UGG written on the label, but they are seriously warm, durable and hand-cut wherever possible by Possum New Zealand. Plus you definitely won’t spend anywhere near 200 quid!  Check out our new footwear range today.

Then it was off to Barcelona where temperatures were a balmy 16 degrees and this is the place if you want it all – art, architecture, fashion, culture and the beach.  Nothing prepares you for the sheer scale and magnificence of Gaudi’s masterpieces.  The wait for the elevator to the top of one of Sagrada Familia’s steeples was truly worth it, as one can view at close range the sad faced statues clinging to the sides of the building – as if they were threatening to jump off – contrasted by the gigantic, boldly coloured first fruits to God speared through the pointed steeple tops. Antoni Gaudi was a genius and his other works were as quirky and original as he drew from nature and avoided straight lines wherever possible.
Sagrada Familia Steeples, Barcelona Gaudi Masterpieces, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So, what has all this got to do with fashion?

A lot actually, the Catalan people are a happy lot and their exuberance for life is not limited to their amazing architecture, but infiltrates into every aspect of fashion.  The two labels I found so appealing were Desigual and Custos. The use of bright colour and blending of different textures, patterns and trim in these labels is mind blowing, and like Gaudi, a bit quirky and offbeat.

Here are some of my fashion pix taken in the thick of things in the Designer district of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas:
Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Louis Vuitton, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Entrance, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Display, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

Yes, faux fur or the real stuff is in vogue here and it inspires me to join up all my bright and gaudy babylamb and possum fur scraps and make a masterpiece or two!

Of course, the winner of Fur Central has to go to Italy once more.  This time, I was in Venice and it was magical.  Water, bridges, gondolas, glassware and masks abound at every turn.  Forget the map – the intricate labyrinth of cobbled lanes takes you out to multitudes of campos and piazzas, so my suggestion is just head for the Rialto Bridge (signs are everywhere) and digress anywhere you like in between, as the myriads of craft shops are sooo interesting.  

In the thick of Winter these elegant ladies thought nothing of coming out in their vintage mink coats and fur hats, and even dressing their mini pooches in like fashion.  They really need more possum fur over their way!!  Check out some Venetian fashion pix:
Fashion Masks, Venice Window Display, Venice Fur Fashion, Venice Window Display, Venice
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So Possums, all this research means new things are in the offing – watch this space!

In the meantime, I’d love to deck you out in any of our warm possum fur, cowskin, or babylamb numbers – all made in New Zealand, largely from our workroom and all originally designed by Ms Possum herself. 

No excuse to freeze my little dahlings – we have everything to keep you snuggly warm!

So, be good and I look forward to hearing from my international hordes of hypothermic fellow critters real soon…


 Ms Possum (Intrepid Traveler and International Fur Researcher)

New Custom Throws

November 9, 2008

We’ve just got in the scrummiest new hides for one of our discerning clients and look what we’ve made – a dramatic reversible raw edge bed throw that nonchalantly drapes over a settee or bed with unabated elegance.

Raw Edge Possum Fur Throw

This throw has a chocolate suede reverse with a dark wash over the natural possum fur to give a depth of colour and texture that really epitomises the best in luxury décor. Turn back a corner; completely reverse it, or wallow in the sheer fluffiness of a few dozen pelts – the choice is yours.

We will quote in any size and colour – simply email us your requirements as we are carrying out an increasing amount of custom work. For some other examples of our gorgeous throws, click here, or check out more of our custom work at Flickr.

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.

All things bright and beautiful

August 21, 2008

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a possum fur throw in a funky colour like purple (usually the naturals/browns/blacks are more popular), so it was nice to be able to whip this one up!

This batch of hides was pretty scrummy, and you can really see the texture in the fur. What do you think? Just click the image to see a larger version.

Purple Possum Fur Throw

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!

Custom Designed Possum Fur Decor

July 24, 2008

We’ve just finished a couple of decor commissions for clients who wanted something a little different!

The first one is a white, queen size Possum fur throw. Because of the bleaching process we had to be super-careful during construction and reinforce everything. The result looks fantastic, and we could totally imagine it in an ultra-modern bedroom.

 White Possum Fur Queen Bed Throw

The second design was a little more rustic — a tri-colour Possum fur throw. Our client couldn’t decide which shade of natural she liked best — so chose them all! The finished throw looks amazing. The tones in the natural grey hides makes the reddish parts of the natural brown really pop!

Tri-Colour Possum Fur Throw

If you’d love something special, but can’t find it on our site, get in touch with us and we can discuss your options.

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!

New Product Launch

July 4, 2008

With the success of retro-themed fur at Milan’s Fashion week – and the re-emergence of ‘flapper-fashion’ – we decided to take a look at the ’30’s for some inspiration. The beautiful result is our Possum Fur Greta Garbo stole! Big enough to double as a wrap, when worn as a stole it dips at the back and plunges dramatically to the waist in the front. Versatile and warm – pair it with your favourite shimmery party dress…

New Product Launch

July 4, 2008

We’ve long known the effects of Possum fur on cats – they love it! So we’ve designed a funky little Possum fur cat toy (we’re calling it the Possie Tail), and it’s already proving incredibly popular! After a plea from one of our regular clients whose cat Chocolate had gnawed the fur buttons off her jersey, we came up with a heavy-duty Cowskin strap attached to the fluffiest Possum tails we could get our hands on. Turns out it’s like catnip!