Fur fiber refers to long threads of animal hair used for making clothing (Gregory, 80). Animals, especially, mammals have a covering of enormous amounts of hair used in textile industries to manufacture clothes. Fur existed in the ancient times as a type of material for making clothing. Fur clothing is warm and comfortable. Hominids, such as Homo sapiens, that travelled beyond Africa used fur for clothing in their journeys. There is no clear date when people started using fur since different researchers have different opinions on the exact date. People started using fur since the early days of the European settlement until the development of the current clothing. Fur clothing was prevalent in Canada especially during the cold winters1.
The high qualities of fur include its warmth and durability. These qualities make the use of fur common in countries around the world that experience very cold climates. However, the development of cheaper clothing that still makes an individual warm are leading to reduced use of fur clothing. Native people and underdeveloped societies still use fur because of its availability and high quality in warmth (Gregory 81). The North American Eskimos depended on fur for most of their clothing. Part of the traditional Russian, Scandinavian and Japanese cultures also used fur for their clothing2. Nevertheless, it is not clear the time in which fur came to existence, and the person who invented fur is unknown.
Fur is expensive and people associate it with lavish spending by the wealthy. The animal furs used in making clothing are more valuable if they are dyed, but some manufacturers leave them in their original state. Minks and foxes are the non-domestic animals that produce large amounts of fur in the world than other domestic animals (Georgia, et al 35). Raccoon dogs, chinchillas and seals are also among the species that produce fur for clothing. China produces the largest amount of fur in the world. About eighty per cent of fur in the world comes from China, and it is the largest exporter of fur clothing to the international market3. Europe consumes most of the fur that China produces. In contrast, China imports its fur from Norway for the domestic market that does not prefer the locally made fur. Denmark, on the other hand, produces the largest amount of mink fur. Netherlands falls on the third category in the production of fur globally.
The United States comes fifth in the world’s largest mink producing countries. It kills about three million minks in a year for fur (Georgia, et al 36). There are laws restricting the use of fur but many countries still engage in fur trading and farming. The U.K., Austria and Croatia have laws that make fur farming illegal. The European Union and the United States have laws that ban the fur farming for dogs and cats.
Animals that live confined in fur farms are the major producers of fur. These farms hold hundreds of animals and the practices of farming these animals are consistent throughout the world. The main aim of those rearing these animals is to make profit at their expense. Minks and foxes produce the largest amounts of fur. Europe has about half of the of mink farms in the world followed by North America4. Farmers breed female minks for one year, which bear about three to four kittens. These kittens grow up to six months after which they go to the slaughterhouse. These animals live in small cages under adverse conditions in an effort to cut on farm costs just to end up dying for their fur. The animals eat meat byproducts that are unfit for human consumption and take small amounts of water for their survival.
The manufacture of fur clothing involves shearing the fur from these animals. There are various chemicals used in fur processing depending on the type of fur and its purpose. These chemicals help increase the quality of fur. Fur has various features depending on the animal from which it originates. The fur from a chinchilla is strong and dense in nature. This fur is able to regain its original position after disarrangement. It is tightly knit and not possible for a person to disintegrate it to see the other side of the fur5. This density and volume is the one that cushions an individual from cold. Fur is also soft and smooth in texture. In fact, fur from the chinchillas has a soft fine texture. According to Nick, chinchilla fur has three veils (24). The outer most tip is dark, the middle is white, and the inner most sections have gray shades. Fur also has a definite pattern. This refers to how the fur appears on the surface of the animal or pelt. The most suitable fur is the one with a smooth surface and is unbroken just like a piece of velvet.
Fur is an intermediate product in the textile industry for making clothing. It undergoes many procedures in its processing work before producing a cloth. With the advancement in technology, it is easier to produce clothing, especially coats, from fur (Gregory 78). There are trademarks for protecting clothing made from fur so that other companies do not imitate them. Competitors within the fur industry include those that manufacture clothing from wool and cotton. This is because these products are available naturally from animals and plants. Cotton and wool are also less expensive than fur.
Developments in fur industry relate to the recent emergence of faux fur. Faux fur that makes clothing similar to those from original fur and people prefer it because it does not involve killing animals to obtain it. Fur relates to apparel because it is easily obtainable in making ready to wear garments.
Georgia, Mason., et al. “Frustrations of Fur-Farmed Mink,” Nature 410 (2001): 35-36.
Gregory, Smith. Energy Study of Real vs. Synthetic Furs. USA: University of Michigan,
Nick, Foulkes. “To Make 1 of These You Need 183 of These,” ES Magazine, 27 Oct. 2000.