Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Fur provider makes inroads by teaming with designers

Updated: 2009-03-23 07:45
By Liu Jie (China Daily)

 Fur provider makes inroads by teaming with designers

Kopenhagen Fur expands business by joining with fashion companies. Luo Wei

China has become the biggest market for Kopenhagen Fur, the world's third largest fur provider.

The company will continue to increase its presence in the country by teaming up with local designers and fashion companies, said Chen Weixian, general manager of Kopenhagen Fur China.

The luxury fur operator has grown in China since first coming to the country 20 years ago and the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong currently accounts for almost 40 percent of its sales. Most of the company's Chinese customers are fur manufacturers and fashion companies.

Kopenhagen Fur cooperates with top Chinese designers such as Frankie Xie (the first Chinese fashion designer to hold an individual fashion show during Paris Fashion Week and co-creator of luxury women garment brand Jefen) and with established domestic fashion brand such as Northeast China's Ne Tiger to help build its market share in China. It's a strategy Chen says the company will continue.

"We are in the process of evaluating more Chinese fashion designers to work with," he said.

Kopenhagen Fur will also participate in the CHIC fashion show in Beijing on March26-29 to increase its profile, he added.

"The company (Kopenhagen fur) is devoted to cultivating close relations with its downstream companies, helping the foreign raw material supplier gain ground in China, which is a complicated market with huge potential," said Yu Jie, a garment industry analyst with Everbright Securities.

Kopenhagen Fur tries to get a leg up on its competition by providing fur training and education for customers.

The company opened Tsinghua Kopenhagen Studio in January 2007, which teaches students of the Academy of Art and Design (affiliated with Tsinghua University) how to work with fur in the fashion industry.

"Graduates from Tsinghua University have an impact on the Chinese fashion industry and they make important contributions to the development of Chinese design," said Torben Nielsen, managing director of Kopenhagen Fur.

The company would not say how much it spends on the studio.

But the drooping global economy is squeezing Kopenhagen Fur, said Chen.

"We have felt the impact of the downturn. In our February auction (the company holds five a year) the prices dropped by more than 20 percent," acknowledged Chen.

But the company was at least still able to sell out all its offerings, he added.

Fur garment sales in China, mostly in northern China, came down by 10 percent in volume. Top retailers and manufacturers were less affected than smaller ones.

"General speaking, we were satisfied with our sales given the current situation," said Chen.

The fur sector is often condemned by environmentalists and conservationists but Chen said that green fur farming is a long tradition in Denmark and the relevant technology does little ecological harm.

"Fur farming is an important agricultural sector that contributes a lot to the Danish economy. In China there are also a lot of fur farmers. Fur farming is the livelihood of millions of farmers," he said.

The luxury fur provider is a cooperative owned by approximately 1,600 Danish fur breeders and located in Glostrup just outside Copenhagen. The cooperative offers around 18 million mink skins as well as fox, swakara, chinchilla, seal, sable, rex rabbit and karakul skins at its five annual auctions, making it the third biggest luxury fur auction house in the world, behind American Legend Cooperative in Seattle and Toronto Fur.

(China Daily 03/23/2009 page8)

Hot Topics
Geng Jiasheng, 54, a national master technician in the manufacturing industry, is busy working on improvements for a new removable environmental protection toilet, a project he has been devoted to since last year.