Although the first 40 years in Saga Furs’ 80 years history put the brand already in the leading position, 80s, 90s and the millennium marked huge development steps again. During these decades, Saga Furs continued to earn high accolades among customers and suppliers for service and product excellence.
It was in the beginning of the 1980s that Saga Furs opened the doors of its newly built Fur Center in Finland – set in a forest of silver birch trees on a former farmland 20 miles from Helsinki – and hosted the first auction at its new premises. Saga Furs become the first and still the only fur company to go public when it was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1986. Another remarkable move from the 80s was that Saga Furs entered the Chinese market.
Changing the fashion picture forever
Additionally, Saga Furs’ partnerships with the fashion world became the backbone of the brand’s strategy when the Saga Design Centre opened in 1988. It was developed as a place where imagination and technical process could come together. In the context of the anti-fur movement of that era, Saga supported young talent with a view to the survival of fur and fashion.
An education programme that presented new ideas and techniques, as well as ancient craftsmanship with an ‘anything goes’ policy around innovation and creativity translated brilliantly to designers of every nationality. This was a milestone that changed the fashion picture forever.
The 1990s brought massive development for the brand and new techniques from the Saga Design Centre further revolutionized the use of fur in fashion. The Design Centre also became the first in the post-war era to innovate fur in home decor, setting trends in home fashion.
The Millenium – major achievements in sustainability
As the world rang in the millennium, Saga Furs rang in major achievements in ethical and sustainable practices.
Saga Certification initiative began in 2005 when Saga Furs teamed up with the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association to initiate ground-breaking standards for fur farming. The objective was to create effective, efficient processes and support best breeding practices. As a result, today Saga Certification ensures responsible fur for the fashion industry and set animal welfare standards with the most comprehensive standard in the whole industry.
In 2008 it introduced the fur industry’s first CSR policy and also in 2008 Saga Furs lead the industry again by joining the United Nation’s Global Compact initiative for responsible corporate policies. It also launched the first Traceability System that enables tracing the material in a garment back to the farm of origin. Traceability is something that no-one else in the industry can do and keeps Saga Furs again the number one choice for the brands who are becoming more and more aware in sustainability.
Real fur to rock the runways again
Partnerships were key in the millenium. In London, Saga Furs collaborated with designers Matthew Williamson and Clements Ribeiro and the prestigious boutique Hockley on Conduit Street. In New York, Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface collection in 2005, Jean John collection in 2008 during NYFW and Cappellini’s temporary store in 2007 presented a fur interior collection and re-designed a sunset chair in mink.
Not resting on its laurels, Saga Furs launched ‘Fur Vision’ in New York in 2000. It was intended as a bespoke event for the fashion industry and has successfully transported the Design Centre’s craft, innovation and new techniques to fashion capitals around the globe, informing brands, designers and creatives on new ideas and possibilities of fur in fashion. The success Fur Vision in New York was followed by Saga’s Fur Vision in Milan, Paris and London.
Each of Saga Furs’ creative treasure troves of master craftsmanship and cutting-edge innovation brought fur into greater prominence. Fur Vision encouraged and facilitated high fashion fur on the international runways and in designer collections, from Tom Ford, Christopher Kane and Oscar de la Renta to Alexander Wang, Roksanda Ilincic, Richard Nicoll and Gucci to Versace. Fur rocked the runways after an absence of a decade.
Where we are today?
The 2010s marked significant milestones in Asia. Fur Vision Asia was launched in 2015 bringing Saga Furs’ prestigious event to cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul and inspiring a whole new wave of creativity in the Asian market. The following year, 2016, marked the 30 years anniversary of Saga Furs in China. And in 2018 Saga Furs launched a training program at BIFTPARK HN to extend its fur innovation and craftsmanship to the creative talents for the future in China.
Today, Saga Furs works closely with more than 23 international design schools and is proud of the fact that more than 30 000 visitors have walked through the doors of the Design Centre and as a result roughly 70 % of all runway collections show fur.
Also, today, the Saga Certification and Traceability System achieved recognition as the platinum standard in the industry – receiving accolades from fashion brands, buyers, and consumers alike.
Read more about the first decades in Saga Furs history here.