Updated: 2011-01-23 08:51
By Gan Tian (China Daily)
This winter, sub-zero daytime temperatures have challenged the fashion-conscious. Gan Tian highlights the best ways to keep warm.
The runway sets the tone with its little touches of luxurious decor. On the catwalk, models draped in beaver, seal, lynx, fox and mink stride out to the beat of Danish rock band Polyphonics.
This is a gathering of the best, organized by the world's largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, and it features more than 10 labels, including Birger Christensen from Denmark, Avanti Fur from Greece, Ne Tiger and Yingdak from China.
Luxury is the key word, and buyers come with fat checkbooks for a Birger Christensen fur coat costing more than 200,000 yuan ($30,360), or an Avanti neck piece (50,000 yuan plus).
Some pieces are more affordable, especially the hip and trendy collections. It's easy to spot these on the catwalk, the music changes to suit the mood.
"We are gathering the best designers and the best fur companies to promote their products. It will be something new for the Chinese fashion industry to start using fur in their collections," says Kenneth Loberg, sales director of Kopenhagen Fur.
With growing affluence, fur products which are the perennial symbols of wealth, are becoming more popular than ever. According to the statistics from Kopenhagen, China is now one of the company's biggest market, with Asia taking up half its business.
While it does not have specific data on its Chinese market, the company estimates the total sale of fur products reached 20 billion yuan in China last year.
"We expect sustainable growth of 10 percent in the years to come," Loberg says.
The most popular are the short-haired, clear-colored furs and the high-quality skins.
Loberg describes his customers as wanting something nice, warm, good-looking and smart, but still representing luxury. They live in the first-tier cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, and also second- and third-tier cities including Harbin of Heilongjiang province and Haining of Zhejiang province. Most of his clients are frequent travelers.
In the north, Chinese clients tend to treat fur as wardrobe necessities in winter. In the south, fur is more a fashion accessory.
Customers are also getting younger, Loberg says, with an average age of between 25 to 40.
Things were not as rosy two decades ago when Kopenhagen Fur was the first fur company in the market in 1994. China was a very small market. It was Russia that dominated Kopenhagen Fur's global business, taking up 50 percent of total demand.
Kopenhagen Furs is now ready to move into lifestyle, and Loberg says his firm is talking to Chinese furniture companies. Fur, it seems, may soon migrate from the wardrobe onto to the couch.
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