I recently sat down with Richard Fabrizo of Fabrizo Furs to ask about remodeling some hand-me-down furs from my mother. Richard is an expert with over 40 years of experience in the fur business. He will take your outdated fur and give it a professional makeover so you will want to wear it all the time. He can design a stunning vest, a cozy poncho, or a casual zippered cardigan from the fur you are not wearing. For more information on remodeling your own coat, email Richard directly! Below is a fur vest that was remodeled from one of our lovely reader’s grandmother’s mink coats.
Here are a few questions we asked about the process:
Can an old fur coat be refurbished?
In most cases, an older fur coat be remodeled, reworked, restyled, recycled, refurbished, altered, and repaired depending on its condition. We carefully examine the coat before we undertake any work to make sure it’s a candidate for whatever project we are planning. The leather or hide side of any fur is the most important factor. If we find the leather to be too dry and brittle no work can be done. In many cases, the hair side can look to be in excellent shape but if the leather is not pliable we can not proceed.
How do you refresh a fur coat?
Refreshing a coat usually refers to some sort of cleaning process. Fur coats are cleaned in a large vat with cleaning chemicals and a product similar to sawdust. The sawdust absorbs the fluids and tumbles around a circular drum removing all forms of soil. The coat is then transferred to another drum with wire mesh. As the coat tumbles the sawdust drops to the bottom of the wire mesh cage. After the coat is cleaned and removed from the drum the hair side is steamed with an iron with a glazing product that makes it silky and soft. These steps are done yearly to keep any fur coat in excellent shape, both the hair and leather side.
What makes a fur coat valuable?
What actually determines the value of fur is the consumer. It has always been an issue of supply and demand. Most fur skins are purchased at international auctions. Prices are always influenced by fashion trends. Prices are lower in today’s market as fur coats are not as popular in the US and other areas. The markets in Asia are booming? In the US recycling is the current way of thinking for most women of all ages. Remodeling your own, mother’s or grandmother’s old fur is a way of practicing sustainability.
What is the most popular redesign?
Today the most popular redesigns are shorter ( long fur coats are no longer desired) and more casual styles. Vests, bomber jackets, denim jackets lined with fur, reversible coats, etc. We also do many wool or cashmere styles that can be trimmed with your old fur. Also popular are small shrugs, boleros, and more dressy styles that can be worn with a cocktail dress or jeans depending upon the accessories being worn. It normally takes between 3 to 4 weeks to complete most redesigns. Some are very basic and some are more detailed. Samples are usually available for one to see, or photos and sketches are provided. There are times when we first fit a canvas sample (muslin) based on measurements to ensure a perfect fit.
Can all coats be remodeled?
Normally fur can only be totally remodeled once. We will advise and guide you on what is the best use of your old coat. Sometimes one can get two or even three styles from one big coat! The options are endless…even blankets, throws, and pillows are doable.
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