Sustainable Fur Tanning

This is a dressing and dyeing factory where the raw skins are process into the durable material that designers use in fashion.

This is known as dressing.

Like all materials used in fashion, fur dressing required chemicals.

EU’s REACH Regulation controls the type of chemicals and the amount used, to make sure they are safe for the environment and human health.

Fur dressing mostly uses natural substances, all of which can be found in the supermarket.

The process starts by marking the pelts to make them traceable. Then they are put into saltwater to soften. The fat on the underside of the pelt is removed making it lighter and more flexible. Pelts are then soaked in solution of enzymes and acetic acid. After being mechanically stretched, the pelts rest in a tanning bath of water, baking soda, salt, and potassium alum. Then they are dried, stretched, and treated with natural oils such as lanolin to soften them again. Finally, the pelts are cleaned with sawdust in large drums.

If the customer requires it, the pelts could be dyed in one of the thousands of custom colors available. This process is becoming increasingly popular among designers in recent years.

Dyeing follows the same principles as dressing.

Pelts are soaked into solutions, which makes the hairs receptive to the pigments. The dyes that are used are the same as for textiles. Finally, the pelts are stretched, ironed, brushed, and then are ready to be sent to the designers.

During the process, natural resources are reused as much as possible. For example, waste water is cleaned and returned to the river as fresh water. When the sawdust can no longer be re-used it is burned to make steam and electricity to run the factory.

Managing resources sustainably helps to reduce the pollution and lessen the environmental impact.

FurEurope – Sustainable Fur