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Exclusive Interview: Fur for Thought

8You’re getting ready to leave the enclave of your air-conditioned house and the temperature outside is hitting 30 degrees Celsius. As you scan your walk-in closet, your eyes land on the new differentiator to your high-low fashion combination: fur. 

Certainly, fur is a luxury material and the Middle Eastern woman has luxurious sensibilities. But fur? In the desert? 

Yes, indeed—at least, if Oh! By Kopenhagen Fur’s CEO, Patrizia Venturelli Christensen, has any say about it. During Copenhagen Fashion Week, Style.com/Arabia traveled to Copenhagen’s outskirt town of Glostrup to visit the Oh! By Kopenhagen Fur headquarters and meet with Venturelli Christensen, who is setting her sights on the Middle East market. 

Some of you might already be familiar with the name “Kopenhagen Fur”—after all, the co-op owned by some 1,500 farmers is the world’s largest fur auction house, selling 22 million mink skins a year and distributing furs to luxury fashion houses.

_R8A9637Oh! By Kopenhagen Fur doesn’t design fur–to-the-floor coats, however. Its main focus is “to help the customer breach fashion and fur via accessories,” explains Venturelli Christensen. “We also want to push the development of new techniques and innovation. We want to bring luxury to the everyday life. You see how fur has been traditionally used—generally among the older generations and those who can afford the big coats. Here, we want everyone to enjoy it.”

Venturelli Christensen, a mother, scholar, and business woman, also considers women’s and men’s day-to-day realities when establishing the accessory lines, which comprises belts, necklaces, bracelets, t-shirts and cardigans with fur embellishments, wallets, purses, and bags, and even fur shoe accessories and fur lapel wraps..

As I peruse some mink skins and Venturelli Christensen explains to me the various skin grading techniques, I pick up a book on the table, open it, and a caption catches my eye. “In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish,” reads a quote by Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director for both Fendi and Chanel. Lagerfeld, a strong supporter of integrating fur in fashion, has previously been referred to by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as a “Design Dinosaur” for continuously using fur in his collections.

The strong feelings that some people have about fur is a topic I want to discuss with Venturelli Christensen. Within the fashion and entertainment industries, there is a great divide between the fur “lovers” and “haters.” Take, for instance, stylist Rachel Zoe’s constant affirmation: “Yes, of course my coats are faux.” Or the uproar Lady Gaga caused among her fans when she posted a slew of pictures of her draped in fur from the likes of Louis Vuitton. And, of course, the most famous vegan designer of all, Stella McCartney, whose clothing and accessories are completely void of any animal products, and are targeted to “intelligent people.”

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