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Fur weather friends

Updated: 2012-06-18 16:41
By Gan Tian ( China Daily)
Fur weather friends
Fur weather friends

Kopenhagen Fur has more off-season products, including hairbands, key accessories and high-heels decors. Photos provided to China Daily

Chinese designers tell Gan Tian that nature's hides are a good fit for all seasons, especially as accessories and accents.

Most people think furs are for winter, but young designer Xiao Qing has a different idea. Her latest creation is a handbag, which is inspired by the mysterious ocean at night. Using navy-blue platinum-grade natural mink, Xiao has made it like a weird ocean creature. Though furs are used to keep bodies warm, many designers are now using it for the sizzling summer. Xiao's creation, for instance, is collected by Kopenhagen Fur, the largest fur auction house in the world. The company used it as a typical example of "off-seasonal fur design", exhibited in Beyond Boundaries, an event showcasing young designers' fur projects in May.

The 20-year-old insists fashionistas would carry her fur handbag in June, July and August, because its marine hues will give customers a cool touch when they see it.

The designer has no difficulty in applying this idea to her design. She uses luminescent materials to mix-and-match more than 20 pieces of mink. The effect is a luminous at night, which becomes white in the day.

"Furs are seasonal material in the fashion industry, but nowadays, more designers try to use furs to create garments and accessories used in summer," says Xiao Wenling, head of the department of textile and fashion design at the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University.

Kopenhagen Fur and the Tsinghua academy set up the Fur Lab together in 2007, seeking to provide professional training for students in fur design.

The Lab, which provides courses from basic crafts to cutting-edge design, attracts as many as 20 students at Tsinghua University every year.

Xiao teaches young designers how to use furs for off-season designs. He believes the concept will increase profit in the fur industry.

"Fur design does not mean it has to be a winter overcoat, a jacket or a robe. It can also be used in accessories, like necklaces, bracelets, and bags. When used in accessories, furs do not have the function of keeping warm," the professor says.

He is amazed to see many of the lab students using fur of mink, rabbit and fox as accents for furniture pieces, which is considered very trendy and have no seasonal limitation.

Liu Jialong, a student training in the lab, has just created a women's vest. Instead of making it out of a whole large piece of fur, he uses some small pieces of rabbit fur to decorate it.

The International Fur Trade Federation is promoting responsibly produced fur throughout in the world. The organization, which opened its Beijing office in 2009, reports that today's fur trends are heading in these directions, such as using fur for accessories, decorative accents and home furnishings.

Sharlene Zhu, communications director of IFTF China office, says now many Chinese fur companies are working on developing fur furniture, which could have a huge market in China. A local company is collaborating with Bentley to design a series of car accessories in fur.

"People used to wear full-length fur coats, but nowadays, there are also many young customers who prefer to use fur products which are less-expensive but trendy," says Zhu.

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