Press release 02.03.2023

AKUT #3 FUR

In the wake of the closure of the Danish mink industry in 2020 and its recent return, Designmuseum Danmark takes stock of the controversial fur in an exhibition that shows unconventional and whimsical fur coats created by Danish and international designers.

This spring’s Copenhagen fashion week was fur-free for the first time ever. So is there any future for animal fur used for clothing, or will fur increasingly be exclusively ‘faux’? And will the traditional furrier’s craft survive? These are just some of the questions raised by the exhibition FUR, opening on 14 March at Designmuseum Danmark. The exhibition shines a spotlight on fur as a controversial article of clothing and paves the way for a discussion about the future of fur in the light of the many dilemmas that surround it – including climate, health and animal welfare issues.

A new take on the classic mink coat
A furry football shirt, a voluminous coat reminiscent of a peacock’s plumage and a bordeaux fur dress with studs: visitors to FUR will find eight brightly coloured, striking and quirky fur garments donated by Kopenhagen Fur, which is the largest fur auction house in the world and the Danish fur breeders’ cooperative until its planned closure in 2024. The eight furs were created by designers and design students from Denmark and abroad as well as by Kopenhagen Fur’s own studio. Each of them offers a new take on the traditional mink coat, mingling humour and edgy innovation in their explorations of what a fur garment is and can do. In doing so, they offer new perspectives on the history of fur and on the traditional craft of the furrier.

A controversial material
In recent years, the debate surrounding the use of animal fur for clothing has intensified. After the covid pandemic, several European countries chose to ban mink breeding, as happened in Denmark in 2020. The risk of infection and animal welfare issues have caused countries such as France, the Netherlands, Norway, Great Britain and Germany to phase out their mink breeding, and established fashion brands such as Armani, Chanel, Gucci and Prada will no longer use fur in their collections. Animal welfare has become a battleground for animal activists on the one hand and fur breeders and farmers whose animals are part of the industrial production on the other.

A disappearing craft?
The quality of Danish mink has been praised all over the world, and the Danish furriers are skilled craftsmen. The furs on display show that the furrier’s craft has been evolving in recent years, incorporating new, experimental and innovative techniques. With this exhibition, the museum directs attention to a craft that may be in the process of being phased out in Denmark as fur breeding is minimised. As of 1 January 2023, breeding mink is legal in Denmark again, so whether fur breeding – and thus the furrier’s craft – has a future in Denmark is still an open question.

FUR is the third in the AKUT series of exhibitions which take up topics where design and designers are at the centre of major societal dilemmas and challenges.

FUR is on show at Designmuseum Danmark from 14 March to 21 May 2023.

The AKUT exhibitions are supported by the Danish Arts Foundation

Press photos