Will Fox And Chinchilla Replace Mink?


Will Fox And Chinchilla Replace Mink?

The coronavirus keeps affecting all industries around the world. When Denmark’s mink cull happened at the end of last year, 17 million farmed mink were put to death. It happened after the virus was found in the animals, in hundreds of farms around the country. The result: The fashion industry was sent into a panic mode and had to react fast. The solution that seems to have come up is to replace mink by fox and chinchilla fur.

Luxury Fashion Designers in need of a Solution

The fur trade is an important sector of fashion, worth $22 billion a year. Luxury companies such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi depended on Denmark’s minks for some of their clothes and found themselves in somewhat of a panic mode when the news of the extermination came. The country is the top exporter of mink. Suddenly the price of mink jumped up by 30% in Asia, a price most brands were not willing to pay. The solution that came to them, was to replace mink by fox and chinchilla.

The most important luxury brand, LVMH, indicated through its Head of Sustainability, Hélène Valade, that the French group were buying their fur from Finland, using only 100% certified mink, fox and raccoon in their creations. They use the services of brokers to bid on them. This company said that they had already seen a 55% rise in the cost of fur, since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. With such a low offer of mink, it will become much easier to find a chinchilla coat on the market next year than a mink one.

Denmark’s Minks were the Best Quality on the Market

The real problem with the sudden disappearance of Denmark’s minks is that it was the best quality and European designers are now worried that they simply can’t replace it with ones from other countries. But the biggest buyers are not Europeans. China is the number one client for mink, followed by Russia. Even though they are both producers, their quality is not as high as the one from Denmark, which explains why they buy from them. Everyone seems to agree that if Denmark cannot supply minks next year, they will move on to the Finland market to fill their need.

But it seems like now won’t be the worst, in terms of finding quality mink on the market. The year 2022 could be a complicated time for those in demand. There is hope that other countries will increase their production in response. They would be: Canada, USA, Poland and Greece.

More on Minks

Minks are part of the genus Mustela family. Their long slender bodies are weasel-like. They have very short legs, a bushy tail and small ears. Keeping fingers away from a mink is best, as they have sharp teeth and they are carnivorous. A male usually grows to be about 60 cm long, with a tail between 16 and 18 cm.

The North American’s mink colour is a uniform umber-brown, which gets darker on the backside of the animal. It then goes all the way to black, on the tail. They have a white chin, but their fur doesn’t turn white in winter. Although there were minks in Europe, before the discovery of North America, it is really then, around 1640, that they became so popular. Europeans encountered the North American Indians, around the area of the Great Lakes, and started trading with them, as it seemed mutually beneficial. The Hudson Bay, the oldest company in North America, was central to the trade between the nations. They remained so until 1846, for the whole of North America. That’s until the USA became independent from Great Britain. 

To understand the importance of the company, during the 19th Century, you have to look at the numbers of mink skins they collected. Just between 1821 and 1905, records show that they came in possession of 3,503,660 mink skins. If you consider that the total for all other North American trade companies was 7,993,719 mink skins, you then realize that they represented over 30% of the market. During that period, they made coats and various garment trimmings with the mink skins they collected. Since there were so many pellets coming from North America, the mink from the region took over the European species. But as we know from the beginning of the story, Europe is now considered to grow the best minks, used in the fur industry.

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