The fur industry is exploding. During the last decade, global fur sales increased 70%. According to Business of Fashion, the fur market is worth more than $40 billion a year, employing over one million furriers, retailers, and farmers. With such dizzying numbers, it is hard to ignore fur’s impact in fashion.
A surprising group is taking notice online: millennials. Despite growing up during dramatic red-painting protestors, fur is becoming an accepted and celebrated fashion piece. It began to enter the repertoire of fashion designers again in the 2000’s. Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, and Michael Kors, among many others, introduced a new generation to fur.
Seeing the resurgence of fur on the cat-walks of New York and Paris drives the new trend of fur appreciation. Currently, there are more than 45,000 posts with the hashtag “RealFur” on Instagram. This same hashtag also trends on Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of posts and selfies.
Instagram accounts like FURS.com, WeLoveFurs.com, and ladyfur are influencing the fashion scene, making fur more accessible to the younger masses.
Popular fur devotee, Louise Tsang, a self-described “fur and handbag addict,” has harnessed her social media following to launch her new blog and share her love.
“Wearing real fur is a very personal thing,” Louise told DailyMail. “It expresses one’s feelings in terms of an individual’s sense of style and their outlook on fashion.
Real fur also expresses an aura of elegance, style, sexiness and femininity. When you actually put on a real fur piece, the first thing you notice is that the experience is very sensual. Just the sleek grazing of the fur on your skin gives you a very sensational feeling.”
Despite a large following of mostly positive fans, Louise was not immune to some negative feedback:
“A while back I posted a picture on Instagram of a super cute poncho in rabbit fur and one account holder made very negative comments about it.
I found it very offensive, that another individual is trying to force their opinions and beliefs onto me. The way I see fur is something luxurious, precious and beautifully elegant. It is a forever piece that every individual takes good care of. “
Technology adds another development to fur trends. For the first time, it can be blended with other materials like wool or silk. This make a lighter garment which is more attractive to customers in warmer climates that still want a luxe look. Business of Fashion reports that there 400 fur retailers in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, where summers can reach over 100° Fahrenheit.
Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Trade Federation says fur trends are growing because the industry has taken a step back to see the big picture:
“People in the fur industry realized, unless we learn how to dye our product, unless we learn how to make our products more flexible and lighter, we’re going to end up in a situation where you only ever sell fur coats once a decade to somebody who needs to keep warm.”
Another popular Instagram account, Fur_Heart, supports fur fashion by posting followers’ selfies.
According to the International Fur Federation, more than 60% of designers used fur in their fall/winter shows. As the social media mavens continue to showcase their fur, the luxury fabric is seen as more appealing from runway models to suburban 20-somethings.