Possum fur as a fashion item
Over the past 15 years, possum fur/merino wool mixes have become accepted and established as a different yarn, with a special story, among the wider mix and array of fibres available around the world.
Within New Zealand and overseas, the possum fur/merino wool mix is also known by a number of brands such as Koru, Lothlorian, Native World, Noble Wilde, Perino, and Zealana.
Domestically the vast majority of possum fur products are sold as apparel items to tourists, at premium prices compared to items made solely with merino wool.
The possum fur/merino wool mix appeal to visitors includes:
- Uniqueness (a product that can only be sourced from New Zealand)
- Soft handle
- Characteristics, superior to cashmere
- Story (an understanding that though this is fur, it is obtained from a non-native animal that has unfortunately become a pest)
- Made in New Zealand
Among this tourist and wearer appeal are fibre attributes which include:
- High performance
- Hollow structure (unique to possums and polar bears) traps more air
- Possum fibres 55% warmer than merino, and 35% warmer than cashmere fabrics of the same weight and knit structure
- Around 18 microns average fibre diameter
- Low piling
- Breathable fabric
- Soft touch
New Zealand sourced possum fur is recognised globally as being, comparatively speaking, ‘green’.
Under the definitions of the International Fur Trade Federation it is considered to be ethically sound. This is one reason the possum/merino mix has been seen on the catwalks of Paris.
Luxury European brand Hermes-Paris produced a woman’s ready-to-wear collection using possum/merino blends (Perino). Some of these garments are seen in the linked video
Equally, in the increasingly trendy hand-knitting scene, possum fur/merino yarns are being recognised as a special product and there is strong demand in North American and other markets. The recent visit by Vogue Knitting’s editor Trisha Malcolm is a small reflection of the blends’ importance.
First and foremost for hand knitters, it is the feel and performance of the yarn and final products that puts them into the luxurious category.