The Saga Furs auction house was founded in 1938 by the Finnish Fur Breeder’s Association. The first local auctions took place in the 40s – laying the foundations for the international brand and auction house that exists today. By the 1950s, the first international fur auctions were held in Finland and it was during this time that company established its reputation as not only a quality fur brand but also a premiere partner of the international fashion industry.
When Saga Furs graced the pages of Vogue magazine in 1960s it was placed in the spotlight of fashion and attracted attention from the best in the industry, from Christian Dior to Jean Muir, who was ‘Mad about Mink’ in its September 1967 issue. The company went on to build enduring relationships with leading Paris fashion houses over the following decades.
Saga Furs became the prominent fashion fur brand also in the UK during the ‘sixties. Advertising campaigns in glossy magazines played with the idea of luxury and authenticity of Saga Furs’ mink and fox. In its May 1967 issue Vogue’s ‘Stop Press’ editorial had the ‘scoop’ of the inaugural Saga Furs Design Competition. ‘SAGA MINK IS YOUNGER THAN YOU THINK’ – a ‘giant competition for young designers, students or professional’. Its cover featured one of the most iconic images of model Twiggy in mink, photographed by David Bailey. It was a clever ploy; British art schools were reshaping the international fashion scene and fur, in their hands, became young.
When Saga Furs graced the pages of Vogue magazine in 1960s it was placed in the spotlight of fashion and attracted attention from the best in the industry, including names like Christian Dior.
Additionally, Saga’s pioneering efforts during these years in improving its business operations and in making significant investments in animal feed and breeding ensured the high-quality characteristics of the pelts that company has become known for. By the end of the 1960s, the Saga Furs brand had made its mark as ‘the name’ associated with premium high-quality fur, high fashion innovation and trusted partnerships within the fashion and fur industry.
Saga Furs kept fur relevant to designers through the years
By the 1970s, Saga Furs recognised that young designers would pave the way for the future. The modus operandi was competitions and partnerships and the Saga Furs Design Competition became a very high profile, prestigious event. The company partnered with Vogue and Harpers and Queen magazines respectively over the years and the competition was open to all colleges, particularly St. Martin’s, the Royal College of Art, the London College of Fashion, Harrow and Ravensbourne.
Saga also partnered with the fur trade in this creative and business endeavor, with furriers from all over the nation advising students and making the garments which were presented at a gala fashion show held at the super smart Dorchester Hotel in London. Thus, did Saga Furs inspired a whole new generation of fashion and textile designers who explored new techniques, creating new ways in which fur could be used in fashion.
From the late 1960s through to the 80s, designers Jean Muir, Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes all worked creatively with Saga. Its vision and pioneering initiatives aimed at the young design community inspired innovation and ensured that fur would remain an integral part of designers’ collections for decades to come, with Saga Furs at the helm.
Read more about the company heritage and following decades in the next article. Meanwhile enjoy also our fashion heritage video!
Read more about the history also here.