Fur coats have been used by human beings as clothing since the earliest times, because they were the most effective way of protecting the human body in the cold days of winter. Since then, they remained popular for the same reason: natural fur coats keep you warm, they are durable and offer you a more valuable and luxurious look.
Back in time, this beautiful garments were worn by the ruling classes. In the European societies, fur coats indicated the social stratification, being an article of clothing which only members of the aristocracy could afford to own. In the last two centuries, the growing middle classes in Western Europe and in North America have developed a love for furs as a way to express their social status, or to adopt a high fashion look.
We find out from the ’’Figleafing through history: the dynamics of dress” book, writen by Harris Johnston in 1971, that hunters from the early societies believed in ’’contagious magic”. In other words, they thought that the strength, power, courage, skills, prowess and fertility could be transferred from a particular animal to a human being. So, the hunters were firmly convinced that if they make a fur coat from the hair of a lion, bear or wolf, they could gain their power.
In Ancient Egypt, fur coats were worn only by kings and high priests when they performed very important ceremonies. In the Western Europe of the 11th Century, the royalties, the nobility and the bourgeoisie were the only ones who were allowed to wear luxury fur coats. Will Durant mentions in his book, ’’The story of civilization. The Age of Faith. Part IV”, that some barons “ were known to mortgage their lands to buy ermine for their wives”. Maybe it’s hard to believe, but there were even laws which stated that fur coats couldn’t be worn by a man or woman of the middle classes.
The demand for luxury and fashion fur coats of the nobility, the upper classes and the new mercantile classes over the centuries had grown, so it caused the opening of new trade routes and the establishment of fur trade monopolies. At the beginning of the XX Century, German traders had the monopoly of the highly desired fur industry as they had access to the finest Russian furs. Eventually, they became very popular, so they were called ’’the masters of the fur trade”.
Accessibility of fashion furs
Fur coats have become more accessible in the last century, thanks to the more advanced technologies. Furs were used by the designers as trim for coats, collars and cuffs. Present day designers are still featuring luxury furs and leather in their collections.
The latest technologies and the sophisticated detailes have opened the doors to widely wanted new designs and styles. Modern marketing strategies, rapid communication about new trends through the mass media, collective tastes, and the social environment suggest that fur coats will always be one of the most desired garments in the whole world.