The younger generations are becoming increasingly vocal and daring with their outlook on all areas of life, and fashion is no exception.
The booming popularity of streetwear with young people – epitomized by the dominating influences of brands such as Vetements and Balenciaga – shows that a desire to test, resist and push the boundaries of design continues to thrive. When it comes to fur, the sheer versatility of the fabric’s usage testifies to how conventional boundaries are being pushed to the sidelines.
The fact that fur is keeping ahead of the times and the trends has not gone unnoticed. Indeed, a 2013 YouGov poll found that just 58% of 18 to 24 year olds believed it wrong to use fur, compared to 77% of over 55s. Even Thomas Pietsch, who works for a pro-animal rights group, conceded: “The industry has done a good job in bringing back fur as a trendy product. When we talk to fashion companies, they say there’s quite a lot of pressure on them to use real fur.”
The fur industry is passionate about inspiring the upcoming generation to innovate and create with fur, as demonstrated by a range of initiatives across the world. As previously discussed on this blog, such initiatives include the global design competition REMIX, the global partnership ‘Imagine Talents’ and the IFF’s own Fur Futures Programme. But these initiatives aren’t signs of a one-way street: they exist because young people want them, so that they can contribute first-hand towards testing the boundaries of fur in fashion.
From designers to buyers and farmers, there are many inspiring examples of the younger generation opening the door to a new chapter of the fur industry, keeping the fabric relevant, innovative and desirable.
Designer Astrid Andersen, a past REMIX contestant, has gone on to becoming a staple name on the LFW calendar, rubbing shoulders with the best in the field. Andersen has established a London based brand of the same name that creates premium casualwear with a sports inspired aesthetic. Her collections synthesise comfort with style and uncompromised quality.
Anne Rooijakkers, a Fur Future member, set her eyes on running on a mink farm in the summer of 2015. Indeed, a previous internship supervisor of hers once observed: “Anne, your eyes start twinkling when you talk about your minks.” Such passion is a clear reflection of how fur continues to inspire younger generations.
The mink farm that Anne now runs used to be family owned, showing how the key to the long-lasting success of anything is the transferal of knowledge. Knowledge ensures that the practices and skills of the trade are preserved for generations to come.
Of course hand-me-down culture is by no means a stranger to the desires of younger generations. Vintage clothing is continuously on the rise, with Millennials increasingly turning to their parents’ wardrobes with the hunt of discovering hidden gems from the 80’s. Older trends are making a comeback, and wasteful fashion isn’t ‘cool’ by any standard. Younger generations are keen to cultivate pieces that can be handed down over generations, and as the most sustainable wearable fabric out there, fur is the ideal fit.