The only thing you gain more of when you share it, is knowledge. When European fur powerhouses like Saga Furs and Kopenhagen Fur invite designers to their creative workshops at Saga Design Centre and Kopenhagen Studio to learn the delicate fur craft techniques, the designers improve their creative opportunities immensely, and it is a rare designer who opposes further creative opportunities.
It is, of course, a business strategy, and it works very well too. 2/3 of the designers on the trendsetting catwalks in Milan, London, Paris and New York displayed fur in their collections this spring. The fact that so many of the world’s most creative minds embraces the material to this extent underlines the creative opportunities offered by fur more than anything else. Visiting designers are, by the way, always invited to fur farms so they can see the animals and the conditions under which they are bred with own eyes.
From time to time the business strategy of the fur sector is presented as the industry luring designers into using fur. The underlining theme seems to be that the fur sector takes advantage of (innocent) designers with the obscene intent to force fur back in fashion. Sure enough, PETA is willing to support that angle. Personally, I’m inclined to leave the conclusion about whether sponsorships (a normal affair in any business, btw) are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to the fashion industry and the designers. After all, it is their creative work.
I will say though, that creativity is a unique human quality, and creative industries excite people the same way Premier League football excites other people. Forces which can create that kind of excitement should be cherished.
Design competitions are a part the same strategy of supporting innovation and sharing knowledge. In this video design student Thom Barends from The Netherlands and Danish Lærke Koldskov talk about their participation in the REMIX design competition in Milan this year. REMIX is a highly profiled competition for design students arranged by the International Fur Trade Federation since 2003. More than 500 design students from 22 countries have participated in the contest through the years.
(Note: no designers were lured during the production of this video)