For over three decades Saga Furs Design Centre has been the world´s creative laboratory for developing new ideas in fur, targeting at sharing the know-how. Rules are broken and new markets evolving to build up a new future for fur. Now Saga techniques are used by KUR, a new fur brand in Japan.
When you think about Japan, you may imagine the perfect sushi roll, a beautifully made kimono or a ‘sakura’, Japanese cherry blossom, which even on photos looks similar to what a heavenly afterlife probably would be. Accessories made by KUR have something really similar – carefully crafted, soft, minimalistic but yet somehow special.
The interview with the brand KUR revealed that we also share the similar values in terms of sustainability as a solid basis for business. We contacted the owner of KUR who told us that the export and import of fur in their company started already in 1921, but their own fur brand was established this year, in 2020.
Fur knows no age or wealth limits
The brand name KUR is a combination of two words ‘kindness’ and ‘fur’. How was it invented?
- Fur has a very long history with human. I find it represents culture, more than just fashion. We believe that real fur will not be replaced by fake fur. It really is the “eco fur” to the plants because it comes from nature and it will come back to nature. You could say that the material is kind to the environment. This is why we named our brand KUR.
What is the vision of your brand?
- There are many fur brands in Europe but only few fur brands in Japan. We hope to inspire Japan’s fashion manufacturers and show them that real fur can be so creative and so much fun. The material is not used by rich or old people only. On the contrary, it can be close to all and especially to young people who are environmentally conscious and want to invest in quality. Our products demand craftsmanship and know-how and we have several exclusive factories that we have worked with for a long time.
Describe your target group
- Our target group is from 20 to 40-year-olds, or maybe in their early fifties. We also set the price level accordingly, trying not to be too expensive. Also, the styles are designed for this target group and their way of living.
Starting from the Japanese market
How do you plan to grow and internationalize your brand?
- We do not have a specific plan right now, but we will keep making new and interesting designs and we intend to collaborate with Japanese fashion designers. Which will in turn make collections much more fun and better known by wider amount of people.
Where can people buy your products?
- We are selling to Japan’s selected shops and stores, so right now our products can only be bought in Japan. We also consider Asia as a market and making our own online shop in the future.
What is it that you like about working with fur?
- Having all the experience of working with fur I find it a very special material. Every fur pelt is unique, and it is not always easy to make it right at once. I like the process that is full of challenges. Another simple reason is that fur is really beautiful, I enjoy touching and watching it.
Which is your favorite KUR piece and why?
- I like the fur collar made of light beige rex with mink, with some silver rings. I think that the combination of soft and hard and metal make good contrast and it makes this accessory simple to coordinate with Japanese fashion style. Another favorite is a cashmere coat plus mink stole with Saga technique. It’s easy to wear and style it in different outfits, from casual style to evening elegance.
Sustainability as the profound value
How did you find Saga Furs and Saga´s Fur Vision techniques?
- I have participated in Saga Furs technique seminars several times. The technique used in our new collection was found at the 2019 Fur Vision event in Japan.
Saga has long focused on sustainability with ground-breaking Saga Certification program with Welfur inside. How do you see the importance of traceability and sustainability in fur production?
- Fur products are an outstanding example of sustainability. They are passed down to our children, they last for decades, can be repaired and refurbished. We think that sustainability will be ‘the new lifestyle’ from now on.
In your opinion, how do you see the future of fur? In Japan, is it back in fashion or will always be in fashion?
- In Japan, some people wear fur coats, but usually the material is used for accessories. In addition to fashion, we are considering fur as a household item thanks to the versatility of the material, the long history, sustainability and technical performance.
How do you view sustainability in the fashion industry?
- In the future, the fashion industry should develop products that can be used for a long time, reuse materials and reduce waste. Fur is exactly that and people are looking towards slow fashion.