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The Fur Trade Today - 10/02/06

Published 10/02/06

The fall MEXA show in Moscow reports exhibition space is already 80% booked. Unlike the spring show held in May for the trade only, this event also is open to the public and usually provides a strong sendoff to Russia’s retail season. It takes place October 20-22 in Hall 3 of the city’s Expocenter Fairgrounds. A highlight will be a seminar on karakul lamb, now in a fashion comeback. It will be led by Michael Hasse, head of the fur school in St. Petersburg. Participants are advised to register. Last year’s event opened when local temperatures had dropped to minus-10 Celsius and it attracted more than 24,000 visitors. It featured 111 exhibitors, more than half from abroad. The merchandise mix was described as 80% garments, hats and accessories and 20% skins.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/04/06

That fur is an important part of today’s lifestyle is evident in a feature article by Daphne Merkin in the 300-page fall fashion report recently issued by The New York Times. Taking neither an openly pro nor anti position, the novelist and critic muses over the psychology of wearing furs, including such seeming contradictions as removing one’s body hair and covering it with that of an animal. How, she wonders, do we “stigmatize our own hair while coveting the hair of animals, denuding ourselves by painful and costly methods (electrolysis, waxing, etc.) of our own pelts, while seeking the artificial cocoon of a mink coat with a raccoon collar from Prada, a honey-toned fur skirt from Vuitton or a Galliano extravaganza that sprouts tufts of goat hair.”

But while they seem to extol furs, Merkin’s musings also could win the endorsement of anti-fur interests. Especially when she refers to this season’s “irreverent approach” by employing fur “as a dangling modifier or a spare part. In collection after collection ... fur has been demoted from being an ultimate signifier of female entitlement and has been reintroduced in its pure, peltlike form, hanging off the back of a coat, working its way up the sleeves of a chunky sweater or brazenly cutting a large hemline swath on a skirt.” In her view, it is no longer a stylish mode of protective covering “... but exists as something alive and not entirely domesticated, bringing with it a suggestion of primordial menace, of the hunter and the hunted, of bloodied beginnings and violent endings.”

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/04/06

Remix 2007, the design competition sponsored annually by the International Fur Trade Federation in partnership with MIFUR, is about to get under way. Entries from the member countries must be submitted to the IFTF’s London office by November 17. Finalists will be determined by a jury by February 5 and the finished garments must arrive in Milan by February 23, at which time they will be prepared and accessorized for display during MIFUR, which runs from March 14-18. The winners will be chosen at the fair. IFTF claims the theme of the competition final is “a closely kept secret,” but hints that since it takes place in ’07, there could be a link to 007 James Bond.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/04/06

European Parliament declaration calling for ban on imports will soon spell death knell for seal hunt, activists say

St. John’s, Newfoundland — The European Parliament issued a declaration today demanding that the European Union ban the importation of seal products in what animal rights activists say could spell the end of Canada’s commercial seal hunt.

The written declaration, signed by 368 EU legislators, aims to shut the European market for seal hides and fur from Canada, officials said. “Commercial seal hunting is a brutal and cruel practice, targeting seal pups only a few weeks old,” said a statement issued by Green party members Carl Schlyter of Sweden and Caroline Lucas of Britain.

Source: Toronto Star, 09/06/06

For Tendler Furs of New York, MAGIC provided a springboard for the launch of yet another entertainer/designer collection. For the past year, Tendler has been working with the House of Deréon, the multi-faceted fashion venture of singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles, with which the furrier has done very well. Now, it has added the just-developed Deréon Collection, which is aimed at and priced for a younger customer. Helping to launch it at MAGIC, with all the hoopla. photo ops and media interviews a celebrity’s agents can muster, was Beyoncé’s younger singer/actress sister, Solange, who at 19 is an idol among teenagers.

The new collection is meant mainly for the teen departments of specialty and major department stores. As such, it is probably the first major program seeking to develop the teen market for fur-related products. The line is priced from $99 to $250 wholesale and includes furs in combination with textiles. Tendler plans to have hangtags featuring a photo of both sisters. Sample orders booked at the show were described as good, but the company looks for major orders at the fall show next February, when the big retailers begin planning ahead. The manufacturer has been in the celebrity designer business since two years ago, when it launched a Mr. Biggs men’s fur line with Grammy Award singer Ronald Isley.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/11/06

Preliminary plans for anti-fur demonstrations on the day after Thanksgiving have been posted by at least one group, Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF). Calling November 24 “Fur-Free Friday”, it has scheduled its New York demonstration as a march at 1:30pm from Columbus Circle down Central Park West and across Central Park South to a rally at Bergdorf-Goodman on Fifth Avenue. On the following day, a similar demonstration is planned at Steven Corn Furs on Route 17 in North Paramus, NJ.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/11/06

Industry Officials Shrug off China videos of dog and cat slaughter for fur

Some people who saw photos of dogs in southwest China being clubbed to death in front of their owners last month to contain a rabies outbreak were not aghast.

That’s because they had already seen a video about China’s fur industry released by Care for the Wild International and Swiss Animal Protection and aired by the BBC last year.

Source: OpEdNews.com, 09/12/06

More U.S. businesses join seafood boycott
Action opposes seal hunt

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia — More than 35 restaurants, mostly Massachusetts-based, have joined the Canadian seafood boycott in support of ending all forms of seal hunting, says the Humane Society of the United States.

And the society is about to reveal later his week that 30 more restaurants in Rhode Island and Connecticut have recently joined the boycott, a humane society spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Source: The Chronicle Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia), 09/13/06

From Project Runway to the runway

Millions watched two seasons ago as a sharp-witted Pennsylvania native with a quirky eye for fashion took top honors on the Bravo network’s breakaway reality show, Project Runway.

Last week, Jay McCarroll narrowed his audience to several hundred — friends, fans and 11 family members — who crowded into the Atelier tent in New York’s Bryant Park to see the first, long-awaited collection of spring ready-to-wear fashion by the designer. ... McCarroll, 31, says he’s been building a business and trying to figure out just what he wants to say as a designer. So far, he knows he wants to make a statement, which is partially why he partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to put on this first show, which was widely promoted as fur- and-leather-free.

Source: Baltimore Sun, 09/18/06

Fighting the return of fur

Fur may be back in vogue in Italy and the US — but in Britain celebrities such as Sadie Frost are trying to ban it from the catwalks. So how long will the high street hold out against high fashion?

Source: The Guardian, 09/18/06

Gray wolf’s death raises questions
Some say the animal, caught in a leg-hold trap, shouldn’t have died in such a limited time

As federal wildlife officials continue to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of a rare gray wolf in Box Elder County last week, a Salt Lake City–based wolf advocacy group also is asking questions.

Kirk Robinson, director of the Utah Wolf Forum, said Monday that the leg-hold trap the wolf was found in north of Tremonton should not have, by itself, killed the animal, which is federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Robinson wondered if the trapper — still unidentified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — was checking the traps every 48 hours as required by law.

“A wolf shouldn’t die in 48 hours in a trap, so I’m a little skeptical about this,” he said.

Source: Salt Lake Trbune, 09/19/06

Group files suit to block Minnesota trapping

Duluth, MN — The Animal Protection Institute says it’s filed suit to force the State of Minnesota to abide by the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Traps set for predators are also killing endangered animals. According to the Institute’s Camilla Fox, the animal advocacy non-profit first sent the DNR a notice of a potential lawsuit last spring.

“We filed a letter of intent to sue to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in April of this year,” Fox says. “Our letter detailed our concerns regarding the illegal take of threatened and endangered species such as Canada lynx, bald eagles, grey wolves. And our letter asked them to make the necessary changes to protect these species.”

Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 09/20/06

PETA Protests Burberry Fashion Show

Three PETA activists stormed the runway at a Burberry fashion show in Milan holding signs reading, “Burberry: Fur Shame.” The invitation-only event was delayed while the activists were escorted out of the show and released. According to PETA, their representatives have met with Burberry executives and screened a video that shows graphic footage of animals who are suffering on fur farms and in traps. But unlike a growing number of fashion companies that are fur-free — including Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Topshop, Selfridges, Liberty of London and H&M — Burberry continues to sell real fur.

Source: TMZ.com, 09/25/06

Despite the record mink prices, however, and the remunerative consequences for the auction companies, Edward F. Brennan announced his resignation last week as president and CEO of American Legend Cooperative. Effective October 1, those titles will be assumed by Steven L. Casotti, who has been executive vice-president and CFO. The news reverberated through the world markets, where Brennan’s 10-year tenure as Legend’s chief was not without controversy. The carefully-worded joint announcement attempted to portray the move as his decision, but leading buyers and ranchers felt it was more that of the board. Although Brennan was at the helm as the company enjoyed its strongest financial position in its history, he was also there for less auspicious episodes, among them the electronic bidding fiasco, the Justice Department investigation into possible bid-rigging, a conflict in next year’s sales dates and controversial cooperative advertising campaigns. Several important buyers, citing him as their reason, have vowed not to attend Legend auctions and at least two major shippers have taken their business elsewhere.

Those reasons are also supported by positive expectations from the western markets, said Rantanen-Kervinen, especially regarding fashion-related fur products. “It looks as if the global mink production in 2005 was not enough to cover the demand, which also pushed prices up,” she added. The latter point also was made by Herman Jansen, chairman and CEO of North American Fur Auctions. “The record mink prices that were paid this season truly reflect the supply and demand of our business,” he commented. “Fur is in fashion, mink in particular is in fashion and countries with growing economies like China and Russia have an incredible appetite that we so far have not fulfilled.”

For mink ranchers around the world, the relief brought by the price increases over the past three years was long overdue. American farmers consider $35 to be a break-even price at which they can manage to hold on to their operations, but from 1986 to 2003 there were only five years in which their averages reached or exceeded that level. During that period the number of farms producing mink dropped by two-thirds as ranchers either retired or were forced to sell their land to cover their debts. But the Americans weren’t the only ones in trouble. Three years ago, the Danish Fur Breeders Association estimated its members would lose about $19 million because of the depressed prices and the weakening U.S. dollar, which meant they would receive fewer kroner for their pelts.

It is still too early to determine how much of an impact the higher prices will make on ranchers’ production plans, but there is a consensus that the world crop will increase. For the past five years, U.S. production has remained around 2.6 million despite a 16% drop in the number of farms, which last year amounted to 277. While some of the larger, better-capitalized operators have been able to increase their herds, the smaller farms were still beset by natural attrition: The younger generations matured and went into different careers during the depressed period and the parents have reached retirement age. Thus, while the number of farms may continue to shrink, that shrinkage now is even more likely than before to be offset by increased production on the bigger ranches.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/25/06

The Canadian Outdoor Heritage Alliance has chosen MP Garry Breitreuz for its first outdoor heritage award in the area of preservation. The presentation was made during a meeting of hunters and gun owners in Frankford, Ontario, by Jim Lawrence, COHA’s manager of corporate affairs and communications.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/25/06

Trapper fine with Brock’s status quo

Brock, Ontario — Brock council shouldn’t seek to put local trapping regulations into place because of one tragedy, according to a member of a trapping organization. Stewart Frerotte, the southern region vice-president and a trapper education instructor of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation, made an impromptu presentation to council at Monday’s meeting.

The trapping debate originally came up at council earlier this year after a Sunderland couple’s dog was killed last November. Nancy Heptinstall and Craig Pestell lost their eight-month-old cocker spaniel Daisy after the puppy was caught in a trap on their neighbour’s property. The trap was laid no more than 12 feet from the unfenced property line. According to the couple, they commonly walked and skied the many trails that run through the two properties, as does their neighbour.

Source: Brock Citizen (Cannington, ONT), 09/28/06

The Rakes Turn Down Burberry Ad Campaign

The Rakes have turned down a lucrative offer to feature on a Burberry advertising campaign.

Vegan frontman Alan Donohue snubbed the offer because the fashion chain design with real animal fur in some of their designs.

Source: Gigwise.com, 09/28/06

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