The fur industry has been through a rocky graph in terms of profits and sales since it started. It has proven to be arguably one of the most resilient industries, speaking in terms of an economic perspective. The Natural Fur Industry holds immense value through which it generates employments and payouts.
Fur sales increased a lot in FY 2012-13, and then the markets saw a slump in 2015 with reduced demands. Currently, the fur industry has a worth of more than USD $40 billion annually as analyzed by PwC Italy. There are two sides to it: one that opposes the idea of natural fur being used as a commodity, and the other side where organizations and manufacturers are vying to protect their industry.
The fur sales accounting for around 85% come from special fur farms: this is where farmer families have been raising animals for years and years. The rest 15% of sales are derived from the abundant natural fur animal population. In 2013 and 2014, about 85 million pelts of mink were manufactured worldwide holding a value of €3.8 billion. 7.7 million fox pelts were produced being worth over €880million.
Two regions play the roles of the largest exporter and largest importer: the former being Europe and the latter being China. The traditional markets have displayed stability in fur sales even though globally, the industry has been facing a downturn. Demand is picking up not only in China alone but in Korea, South America, and Ukraine as well. According to the International Fur Federation (IFF), a key organizational body in the wild fur industry, Chinese fur sales hold a value of nearly USD $17 billion per annum, trumping the rest of the world markets. Not even big players like the United States and Russia generate USD $5 billion in terms of sales.
The fur industry employs a variety of people starting from the trappers, to brokers to the furriers. There are trappers in Canada, Russia, the United States, and Europe who have been working in the field for generations. Roughly more than 1 million people are employed by the fur industry and the trade generates skilled as well as semi-skilled employment in a large variety of areas. This includes jobs like veterinary research, animal food production, farming, sorting, warehouse management, buying and selling, tanning, dyeing, cutting, hand sewing, designing garments, marketing, and retailing.
Everyone involved in the process of producing fur products receives a different range of pay-outs. This varies based on the species procured. The trappers who catch and procure the various animals receive pay-outs as well as a prime fur bonus on all fur that sells advanced amount or greater. Lynx cat trappers receive a pay-out of USD $105, a grizzly bear trapper gets $950, while wolf trappers receive $750. A trapper procuring martens, which is a Northern native, normally fetches $90 to $105.While a coyote trapper gets a $45 pay-out. Fur prices are predicted to see a 50% increase in 2019.
In the contemporary fashion landscape, the acceptance of faux fur as an alternative to natural fur has become quite the thing of the moment. With big fashion houses like Gucci, Prada, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Versace, and plenty of others announcing their departure from using natural fur, the fur debate has changed in the industry. Proclaiming social responsibility as a part of Gucci’s main values and philosophy, the brand’s CEO, Bizzarri, stated: “We continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals”. Having a long-term alliance with L.A.V, an Italian animal welfare organization, Gucci became a member of the Fur Free Alliance in the year 2018. Brands like Stella McCartney’s eponymous label, which was founded in 2001 as a 100% animal cruelty-free business, has beautifully inculcated faux fur in its collections. McCartney’s brand also comes under Gucci’s parent firm – Kering.
Versace and Michael Kors have also displayed the use of faux fur in their designs. Essentially, a wave of new and inventive technology brings forward a plethora of possibilities in terms of textiles and more and more brands are willing to experiment.