A vision on fur
Collaboration with Vogue Italia
26 September 2016: The International Fur Federation (IFF) – in partnership with Vogue Italia – hosted a panel discussion at Milan Fashion Week (24 September) to discuss the future of the fur industry. It was organised as part of the IFF’s Business of Fur initiative, an advisory resource for fashion retailers that also provides information and support regarding the commercial opportunities of selling fur.
On the five-strong panel were some of the biggest names in fashion; Sara Maino, senior editor of Vogue Italia, Mark Oaten, CEO of IFF, Johannes Manakas, chairman of IFF, Francesco Scognamiglio, international designer for the likes of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Rita Ora and leading buyer, Mario Dell’Oglio, President of Camera Italiana dei buyer.
The panel, led by Sara Maino tackled some of the biggest issues affecting the fur industry. Emerging markets were high on the agenda, including newer ones such as India and Iran. Also how online selling is becoming increasingly important.
There was a lot of talk about how much (or little) men are wearing fur as well as how fur has moved beyond cold weather to become an all season choice, thanks to new techniques that make it extremely lightweight. Innovation in techniques also means it’s easier to experiment and the panel talked about some of the avant-garde designs that are really pushing boundaries.
Sara Maino commented that fur was increasingly seen across many of the shows, lead by the likes of Alessandro Michele for Gucci who showed a new approach to the material. She also commented that it’s now easier than ever for young designers to work with fur as new techniques make it more affordable and versatile – it’s not just about full fur any more.
Designer Francesco Scognamiglio told the audience of buyers that if he were to design for men he would definitely like to include fur. Although, it remains problematic as men to shy away from glamour on the street; in other words it’s more difficult sell. However accessories and homewares tend to do better for men.
Mark Oaten told the audience that the fur industry is currently working with brands to develop a new traceability and sustainability programme.
Johannes Manakas talked about how the move from selling in specialist furriers in favour of multi retailers and on line sales is helping grow sales and popularity of fur.
Mark Oaten, said: “The fur industry is currently valued at more than $30billion. Achieving such worth hasn’t happened without us putting a huge amount of effort into design, innovation and welfare, as well as making our industry relevant to a much broader range of consumers.
New techniques mean that fur can be dyed into any colour under the sun and can be mixed with different fabrics to achieve a garment that is gossamer light and perfect for warmer weather. However, we still have a long way to go to communicate how versatile fur is and how much we have achieved when it comes to welfare and sustainability.
Our panel with Vogue Italia is part of our drive to change perceptions within the fashion industry and beyond and we were hugely encouraged by the positive tone of the debate. It’s also hugely significant to have the event take place during the spring/summer show, a sign that fur now has year-round appeal rather than just a winter-only fashion item. We hope that the designers and buyers in the audience will take on board what they heard and consider how they might work with fur in the future.