Fur Processing & Design
Fur Garments are Hand-Crafted Works of Art
Fur has long been considered a luxury and with good reason. Like snowflakes, fur is a natural product where no two furs are identical – each pelt has unique characteristics: fur density, color, size, etc.
Great care is given to selecting and processing each pelt that will be used to make a garment. And each garment is made by hand making each fur item a unique and authentic work of art.
Fur designs have moved far beyond your grandmother’s traditional brown mink coat. Today, there are myriad methods of preparing the fur that allow ultimate creativity in design.
Before fur can be used to make apparel or accessories, the pelts must be processed. This includes “dressing” – a special tanning process that softens and preserves the hide without damaging the fur – and can include dyeing, shearing, texturing or other processes.
Fur is delicate and must be handled with care. Unlike the tanning of leather where the goal is to remove hair completely from the hide, fur dressing and dyeing must be gentle enough to protect and preserve the fur hairs and follicles.
The main chemicals used to “dress” fur pelts are table salt, water, alum salts, soda ash, sawdust, cornstarch, lanolin and other natural ingredients.
Small quantities of formaldehyde may sometimes be used to protect fur follicles during dressing or dyeing, and gentle acids (such as acetic acid, which is vinegar) activate the tanning process, but local environmental protection controls ensure that there are no harmful effluents. For example: excess fats are skimmed and even pH levels must be neutralized before waste water is released from the tanning vats. And because furs are available in an extraordinary range of natural colors, only a small proportion of fur pelts are dyed.
After processing, fur pelts are soft and pliable, and the natural beauty of the fur will last for decades. Once processed, the furs are ready to be crafted into beautiful apparel or accessories.