Would Americans really rather go naked than wear fur? Not by a long shot.
Originally Posted – 3/22/2018 on Marketwatch
The city of San Francisco announced this week it’s banning the sale of animal fur products. The ordinance was made by the city’s Board of Supervisors, a legislative body in the city. It will take effect July 1. Vendors found to sell fur after that will be subject to a $500 fine for their first violation.
“The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the city’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness,” according to the ordinance. “The demand for fur products does not justify the unnecessary killing and cruel treatment of animals.”
Banning sales of new furs in San Francisco — the resale of used fur products is still allowed — could reduce the number of people buying fur there. But nationwide the demand for fur is actually growing. The U.S. is forecast to manufacture more than $352 billion in fur apparel and clothing accessories in 2018, up from $336.9 billion in 2014, an increase of 4%, according to the market-research firm Euromonitor International.
Part of the demand has been driven by the furniture industry, which has been using more fur in recent years as a chair covering and in other applications. Spending on fur supplies in that industry rose 10% between 2011 and 2016. Anti-fur activism hasn’t reduced demand as much as organizations like PETA would like, said Kristina Balciauskaite, an industrial research manager at Euromonitor.
Fashion Week events in Paris, New York and Milan continue to showcase fur items, she said. And in the U.S. the fur industry is slowly shifting from larger fur items like mink coats to fur as a secondary component of clothing items, such as just a trim. That has helped the fur business to keep growing, she added.
The industry denies that public tastes are turning away from fur. “The cash registers and the stores are telling us the truth, beyond any research, that consumers are buying fur,” said Keith Kaplan, the communications director of the Fur Information Council of America, a trade group.
Globally, however, there was about a 1% dip in the value of fur sales in 2015, and those sales have not recovered since, Balciauskaite said. But that wasn’t so much because of anti-fur activism and anti-fur advertising campaigns, she said, but because of a dip in fur prices.
They’re not cheap. Fur coats can cost from $500 for a rabbit- or fox-fur-trimmed coat at Bloomingdale’s to $47,000 for an Italian sable coat by the fashion brand Simonetta Ravizza. There’s also a brisk market in pre-owned, professionally appraised furs on sites such as Estate Furs.
California is an important retail market, but San Francisco’s ban likely won’t impact overall fur sales, Balciauskaite said. Prices are a better indication of fur demand, and they still look strong this year. Bay Area consumers will still be able to buy fur outside city limits, Kaplan said, or through online retailers.