Furs Hit the Runways. Are Store Racks Next?

Discussion
Mar 12, 2008

By George Anderson

Many luxury retailers would prefer to avoid the headaches that come with selling coats and other apparel made of real fur.

That general sense of reluctance did not stop designers from houses including Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Armani, Junya Watanabe and John Galliano from having models hit the catwalks at recent European shows wearing a variety of fashions that included mink, fox and sable.

Many luxury department stores, according to Women’s Wear Daily, do not see the point of getting entangled with fur fashions at this point due to the controversial nature of the product, the impractical nature of garments and the associated cost.

Specialty boutiques are less concerned about the potential for conflict and some say the product is exactly what consumers want at this point in time.

Scott Malouf, owner of Malouf’s in Lubbock, Tex., said consumers under the age of 40 want furs.

“It’s not her mother or grandmother’s fur, but it’s very fun and of-the-moment,” he told WWD. “The younger generation does not have the politically correct brainwashing that the Baby Boomers underwent in the early Nineties. They look at it with a fresh attitude. They are more driven by who’s wearing it and what the label is.”

Nancy Schneider, owner of Nancy & Co., disagrees. “I’m surprised at so much fur in the market. I stopped selling fur five years ago,” she told WWD. “I don’t believe in it, and some of my best customers won’t wear fur and asked for alternatives. I replaced it with down and knitwear, which works well, given climate change.”

Discussion Questions: Is the time right for fur to make a comeback in U.S. luxury stores?

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6 Comments on "Furs Hit the Runways. Are Store Racks Next?"


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Al McClain
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Al McClain
14 years 2 months ago

Ryan has it about right. But, I do think that over the LONG term the market will decline, as consumers become educated about alternatives and animal rights advocates go more mainstream.

Max Goldberg
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14 years 2 months ago

No, the time is not right, nor will it ever be right for fur to make a comeback.

Janet Smith
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Janet Smith
14 years 2 months ago

Fur is incredibly cruel and virtually unnecessary in most U.S. cities’ climates. If it’s the look and fashion someone is after, faux fur is done so well these days, I’m surprised that anyone would be so selfish as to want the real thing. I don’t believe that the majority of Hollywood will support it either. People are not “politically brainwashed,” they are just educated now more than ever on the cruelty in making fur. I hope designers get a huge wake up call from consumers and animal rights groups if they continue to promote fur in their clothing lines.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 2 months ago

It’s a mistake to underestimate the commercial appeal of either consumer attraction for the forbidden or the perennial appeal of the retro. That’s why one generation’s politically incorrect is another generation’s “must have.”

Furs will make a limited comeback (not that I’m endorsing their return) if for no other reason than the fact that there is always a market for the shunned and controversial.

Why do so many young Americans smoke? Why is there so much controversial language in hip hop music? Why do some suburban Americans have swastikas tattooed on their arms and chests? Because young people often embrace symbols their parents reject (often the greater the rejection, the higher the appeal) and because products associated with that rejection sell. And so it goes.

Marc Gordon
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Marc Gordon
14 years 2 months ago

As a Canadian, I have to laugh when someone in the middle of Texas talks about how his clients want furs.

Regardless of how one feels about the moral issues surrounding the wearing of furs, the fact is that it’s a market driven product. It’s not illegal or governed by any independent agency. And if a group of Texas women are willing to pay whatever the sticker price is for a fur coat, then they should have that right.

I say let public opinion and social standards dictate the marketability of such products. If wearers find themselves mocked and harassed in public, that will do more to curb fur sales than any “brainwashing.”

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 2 months ago

If fewer stores sell furs, the remaining stores will sell more. America is the Kingdom Of Too Many Retailers.

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