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Is Fake Fur Going To be The New Trend For Designers?

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Posted By Staff Writer : YBM

How do you feel about rodent fur keeping you warm this coming winter? Some wear fake furs, but is this still promoting the killing of animals? Well, popular designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Patrik Ervell and Gilles Mendel are amongst those using nutria fur for some of their new and up coming designs.
Nutrias are large semi aquatic rodents that are indigenous to South America. In the late 1880s, fur trappers imported these beaver like creatures to Louisiana to breed. But the business wasn't’as lucrative as they expected, and many of the critters were released into the wetlands of the Gulf Coast.

Nutria OverpopulationIn addition to sporting a thick, lustrous fur, nutrias are quite prolific. So 100 years later, it was found that the nutria population of Louisiana was decimating the wetlands by devouring marsh grasses, eroding and damaging the area’s delicate ecosystem.
In response, the Coastwide Nutria Control Program was introduced in 2002. Managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and funded with federal dollars, the program is currently paying $5 for each nutria tail turned in to the program, enabling coastal trappers — many of them survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — to make a living.
“Lots of coastal trappers are earning money through the Coastwide Nutria Control Program,” Edmond Mouton, biologist and program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told “We took in about 300,000 tails in the years before Katrina and Rita. Post Katrina and Rita, it dropped a bit because of the impact of the storms, but this is a fairly resilient group of people. In the past year, they set a record of 445,963 tails.”
This intake has had a direct effect on the wetlands. “We’ve gone from 100,000 acres damaged in 2001 to a little more than 8,000 acres damaged now coastwide,” Mouton added, “It’s a successful program.”

Back in fashion? “Nutria has been quiet in the past few years,” Kaplan said, but it is on the rise in fits and starts: “Last season, Oscar de la Renta did a nutria vest.” Michael Kors has used sheared nutria to line raincoats, which is a perfect application. “It’s a durable, dense fur that is traditionally used as trims or in linings. It can have a rich, rugged look.”
Designers de la Renta and Kors are in the last stages of preparing their Spring 2011 collections to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York this week, and consequently declined to comment. However, Mel Castro, product development director at Pologeorgis Furs, which holds the license and makes Michael Kors’ furs, said, “We’re not currently using a lot of nutria, but who is to say it’s not going to be the big trend next season?”

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