De Tendence

What’s Left To Know About Fur?

Have you ever thought of a fur overall? It would be funny to wear it and look like a giant cauliflower, especially if that very fur was white. That would also require the right makeup. Are you taking notes for New Year’s Eve or what? 

Portobello Road, known for its market, quirky shops and cafes is the perfect location for pop up stores to be hosted throughout the year. Right now, the Vintage Fur Company – brainchild of Rachel Hawley – shines among them.

Rachel not only takes vintage furs and accessories, cleans and restores them, but also creates one off pieces using vintage furs and recycled trims, put together by hand, transformed and brought to new life in her London studio.

The designer and entrepreneur moved to London right after graduating in product design and started working in graphic design right away. Having quite a lot of experience in retail – mostly vintage – starting to work in a vintage fur stall on Portobello Market was almost a natural step to be taken for Rachel, once she established herself in the city. From there, launching her own brand didn’t take too long, even tough – as she herself told us – sourcing the fur at the beginning seemed like a huge challenge. But as they say, hard work pays off and now Rachel can rely on long known contacts who help her find the best furs possible for her creations.
The Rachel Hawley Remade Collection – her brand’s name – started in 2012 and had such a great response that it still continues to be the driving force behind Rachel’s overall business. After last year’s successful winter season chez 201 Portobello Road, Rachel is back this year, same time same spot, and she’ll be there until the second week of January.

Fur is a delicate subject, often cause of tension within the fashion spectrum: to fur or not to fur? But most of all, what’s left to know about fur? These questions remain unanswered as most of it depends on everyone’s personal opinion and sensitivity toward the matter.
Could the Vintage Fur Company help seeing fur as something else but a cruel exploitation of nature? It certainly gives a new, refreshing point of view.
In fact, re-using fur which would otherwise be doomed to waste not only helps finding it a new purpose before it becomes actual waste, but also promotes an industry that over the years – despite its potential and relevance in fashion historically – has gained lots of bad press.
As a consequence of the negative connotation acquired by fur in the last few years, the consumption of this product – which used to be one of the most prestigious, desired and luxurious to be owned – is now lowered and the want for such pieces comes with a much heavier heart.
Often paired with the necessity for fashion to become more sustainable, the quest for fake furs has brought quite a few fashion designers to make it the signature of their brands, creating quite a paradox, being fur among the most luxurious of materials.

But what if not only the fur was recycled, but also the other components of such an item came from recycled materials?
Surely, that would change views toward real fur, providing a relevant environmental counterpart to it, and that’s exactly what Rachel is trying to achieve.
We caught her at the end of a very busy Saturday in Portobello Road and chatted a little about her pop up store and how she’s planning to develop her brand in the future.
Stocked with some incredibly beautiful vintage fur pieces – as well as original ones from the Rachel Hawley Remade Collection – it’s no wonder why Rachel’s store is always bustling with customers, eager to try on her unique coats and jackets but also her most recent designs such as the gilets, this season’s top best seller.

Speaking of the future, Rachel has a lot in store for her brand, most of all the creation of new iconic products, such as the parkas she’s working on at the moment and which will hit the rails next season. One of her biggest wishes is to be back in Portobello, where we hope to find her and her again, creating more unique furs and selling them to happy customers who will finally be able to appreciate them, purchase them and proudly wear them.
No bitter feeling included.

 

Words by Walker Kennedy.

Original Illustration by Melissa Delteil. 

 

Visit the Vintage Fur Company’s Website here.

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