Evolution of fur in fashion Part 1

Although fur has been condemned by much of society over the years, the trend is back as it appeared on fall runways from designers like Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, J. Mendall and DKNY among others.

Fur fashion could be seen on nearly every runway this year. Photo courtesy of Desihigh Style.

Fur fashion could be seen on nearly every runway this year.
Photo courtesy of Desihigh Style.

The history behind fur in clothing goes back a very long way and some of it is quite surprising.

As there is so much behind it, my post on the evolution of fur in fashion is a two-parter.

It is pretty apparent that fur was likely one of the first makings for clothing as a means to keep warm.

In early societies, hunters believed by wearing the fur of the animal, they were transferring the strength and power of the being into themselves.

Fur became fashionable in the middle ages when clothing lined with it showed the wearer’s social status.

Fur was reserved for the rich and noblemen and eventually laws were made to prevent lower classes from wearing it.

This purple robe with ermine trim was popular in the late Middle Ages. Photo courtesy of Rose Almaras, Pinterest Chapter 6: The Late Middle Ages

This purple robe with ermine trim was popular in the late Middle Ages.
Photo courtesy of Rose Almaras, Pinterest Chapter 6: The Late Middle Ages

In Germany a law stated, sable and ermine were reserved for the noble, while France ordered a royal ordinance that no one in the middle class could wear ermine or vair.

Popular furs for people to wear during the time included ermine, sable and squirrel fur.

During the late 1800s, the Tsar of Russia was invited to visit France, the capital of the Western fashion world, and soon people from across Europe began adopting the fashions of Russia – particularly with wearing fur.

Children in the 1860s don  fur hats and muffs. Photo courtesy of Erin Beachy, "1800s", Pinterest.

Children in the 1860s don fur hats and muffs.
Photo courtesy of Erin Beachy, “1800s”, Pinterest.

Coats and dresses were trimmed with fur collars and cuffs and men began wear ankle-length coats made of beaver and buffalo. While women wore coats made of sable and Hudson Bay seal skin.

The seal coat was the first coat with the fur worn on the outside.

Wearing fur on the outside became a trend by 1840 and grew in popularity. However, even then people protested on the cruelty of wearing it.

My next post will be dedicated to the following century of change in the fur industry.

What’s your take on wearing fur?

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