New partnership focuses on sustainable fur

Kopenhagen Fur and Design School Kolding enter partnership agreement.

The goal of the collaboration is to produce more knowledge about fur and design within a sustainable context.

A new research project is one of several specific initiatives that have been launched with the new partnership agreement. In the course of the next 14 months, four researchers affiliated with Design School Kolding will investigate how sustainability and fur are connected. Through field studies, user surveys and interviews, the researchers will determine who chooses fur, why, and the emotions that people attach to the material.

- Sustainability is a very hot topic in global fashion. We have teamed up with Design School Kolding to figure out our role in this. We already have an excellent collaboration with Design School Kolding and it makes sense to use each other’s competences to reach our shared goal of learning more about sustainability in relation to fur, says Michael Stadi, Director of Kopenhagen Fur´s creative hub, KiCK.

The plan is for the four researchers to approach fur from different angles, from the user to the material, in order to get the complete picture of the material’s sustainable potential.

Sustainable design
Design School Kolding already has substantial knowledge about sustainable design thanks to the work of the school’s Laboratory for Sustainability and Design. In addition, as of this year, the school offers a design programme focusing specifically on fur and accessory design. Therefore, it makes excellent sense for Design School Kolding and Kopenhagen Fur to work even closer on the research, development and dissemination of fur design.

- Fur is a material with many interesting sustainable aspects that we need to explore and document further. It is natural and durable, and a product that consumers keep and pass on to the next generation. With this partnership, we wish to explore these aspects further, and we see the concept of sustainability as an integral part of the whole process – from product development and design to marketing and the life of the product with the users. Sustainability is most likely the key factor in today’s fashion and textile industry. As a design school we have an obligation to teach our students – tomorrow’s designers – to have a responsible approach to sustainability, says Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, Rector at Design School Kolding.

The objective of the partnership is to provide new knowledge about fur design in relation to sustainability based on research and development in order to explore the full potential of fur and how to use this potential in relation to production, product development, design, and user.

We need to get inside the wardrobe
Else Skjold, one of the four researchers, takes her point of departure in the user. Her job is to produce an understanding of how the consumer interacts with fur.

- One of the things I’ll do is I’ll get inside people’s wardrobes and study why and how they use fur. A lot of people think fur is the same as it has always been. But from a historic perspective there has been a many different perceptions of fur, and it is up to me to identify the perception which is dominant today, explains Else Skjold, Fashion Researcher at Design School Kolding.

The project will also involve furriers and designers, and the project insights and results will be shared and communicated on an ongoing basis. Long-term, the knowledge, which the projects generates, will be published in research papers and journals. The overall objective, when the project ends in 2015, is to have created new knowledge and awareness of sustainability and the use of fur not only within Kopenhagen Fur but with potential consumers and in the public debate.

Partnership goals

  • To set up a fur workshop at Design School Kolding
  • To develop a basic text book about fur processing and techniques
  • To complete one annual artistic development project
  • To complete a research project on sustainbility with the purpose of supporting the knowledge base of Design School Kolding’s educational programmes and developing the fur industry further.