By Alex Coupar
Over the past few decades, fur clothing and accessories have become difficult to wear for many people. The ever-rising cost of what is now considered a luxury item often puts it out of reach for budget-conscious consumers; and in addition to being expensive, the use of fur in fashion has become a controversial choice.
While the fur trade was a cornerstone of Canada’s development, fur has since become a huge industry in Canada. Massive-scale fur production facilities, otherwise known as “fur farms”, have become common. Concern for the welfare of the animals being raised to make these products has led to harsh criticism from animal rights groups like PETA, as well as designers and celebrity animal welfare advocates. With large-scale, automated production, the quality of the garments made using fur has also been in a decline over the years. The care that was once taken in the construction and detailed finishing of fur pieces has, in many cases, been sacrificed for an increase in output and profits.
With all that said, let’s be honest: the Montreal winter experience is one of the harshest and snowiest in the world, and sometimes high-tech synthetic textiles just don’t cut it when you need to stay warm and frostbite-free for as long as it takes to walk to the nearest café. Fur has been a beautiful and highly effective way of keeping Canadians warm for centuries, and its charm isn’t likely to fade anytime soon. Thankfully, there is a solution for animal-respecting lovers of furs!
The furs and leathers used by Montreal-based designer Kazak to create their unique winter accessories is recycled, which means that it offers up several benefits: no animals had to be harmed to create new fur garments, so the industry is not being supported by consumers; and extremely outdated fur pieces that may otherwise have slowly faded on the thrift store shelf are given a new and improved purpose. Another excellent thing about using these repurposed materials is that each of the finished hoods, mittens and collars is unique: the furs come in a variety of lengths, natural patterns, and textures, and are paired with complimentary cozy fabrics and textured leathers that you won’t see on everyone else this winter.
Kazak’s designs add a bit of wild beauty to a sleek cold-weather look when you’re in an urban environment. Their combination of functionality and style is right at home in this city, where the conditions are extreme, yet visual drama and flair are rarely sacrificed. As with the vast majority of the designers and artisans whose work is carried at General 54, Kazak’s luxurious mittens, collars, hoods and bags are made with care, love and attention right here in Montreal.
If you’re looking for winter accessories that are as tough and striking as the Montrealers who wear them, come by and take a look at this season’s collection from Kazak!