‘To fur or to faux?’ is a question on many fashionistas minds these days.  This year at iD Dunedin Fashion Week, attendees can consider this question in the presence of two devoted fur practitioners.

The answer’s in the fur corner at the Lapin studio/gallery where designer/maker Jane Avery crafts bespoke coats, jackets and accessories using New Zealand Wild Rabbit Eco-Fur in combination with beautiful fabrics, both new and vintage.

In the interests of promoting the fur of this notorious environmental pest as a responsible and beautiful clothing choice, she’ll be presenting, along with furrier Max Wilson of Dunedin’s time honoured Mooneys Furs, a demonstration and discussion. 

Their spot on the iD calendar is an opportunity for the pair to demystify the labour intensive process of working with fur and to talk about their work with ethics and sustainability in mind.

Says Jane, “Fur is a beautiful, practical, durable, biodegradable material which, due to the unfortunate introduction of species that turned out to be pests, we have an abundance of in New Zealand. I would love to see the revival of a New Zealand rabbit fur industry. In the interests of not wasting what would otherwise go into a hole in the ground, we should wear and export New Zealand fur as a solution to an environmental problem.” 

“We now know the harm synthetic microfibre faux fur does in the world and of course there’s the movement away from wearing animal products due to issues of cruelty. The global fur industry however is still a multi-billion dollar business.

The whole topic has become one of the more discussed dilemmas of the fashion world.  It’s a massive topic which Max and I will attempt to shed a little of our own lights on.”

With a career spanning over 40 years Max’s insights as a furrier encompasses times when fur was in and then out of fashion. He believes it’s appeal is cyclical and perennial.  Jane, who launched her ‘eco-couture’ label just three years ago, believes Lapin offers a fresh perspective on fur for “woke” women and men. 

In combining rabbit fur with gorgeous, high quality fabrics in original yet classic designs, Lapin coats are an example of slow fashion in action with extensive tailoring, handwork and attention to detail. What results is garments reflecting textile quality, and the fur’s journey from high country pest to high end clothing rack. 

“My clients want to invest in something special that will take them though many years of pleasurable wearing. It’s my hope that Lapin coats will become heirlooms handed between generations.

For the vintage fabrics I repurpose this has particular resonance. I adore the concept of well-preserved pre-loved fabrics having new lives and continuing their usefulness with a material as sustainable and environmentally sound as New Zealand Wild Rabbit Eco-Fur.” 

“Regarding Fur - A demystifying demonstration and discussion” will be presented in the Lapin studio at 130 Lower Stuart St. Saturday 16th March - 1-2pm  

View the event here