Fur coats were once the height of fashion. But it isn't as socially acceptable to wear them as it used to be.
Whether you've inherited a fur coat, or have one hiding away in your wardrobe, here are a few ideas on what to do with your fur coat.
What To Do With an Old Fur Coat
Which Charity Shops Take Fur Coats
Your first thought might be to donate a fur coat to your local charity shop.
But many charity shops state on their websites that you can't donate fur coats.
We were struggling to find any charities that would accept fur coats. But you should enquire with your local branches to see if they can take it.
That said, we did find one option. PETA accept donations of old fur coats, which are then sent abroad to keep people warm who cannot otherwise afford a coat.
Another option is to donate your coat to local animal charities. Fur is usually super warm so it is useful for rehabilitating animals in need.
You could also check with local drama groups and community theatres if they need any fur coats for costumes.
So, are fur coats worth anything?
The value of your fur coat largely depends on its quality.
Running a few quick searches on eBay reveals that some fur coats sell on there for as much as £8,000.
But many top quality coats are selling for around £300-£500.
Again these are only pointers - having a quick scroll through shows all kinds of animal coats selling for various prices.
So make sure you do lots of research before you decide to sell.
Another route is to take it to a furrier or someone who is a specialist in vintage clothing that might be able to identify the brand and age of the coat.
Where To Sell Old Fur Coats Online
Your next step could be to sell your fur coat. Hear us out - this isn't about making money on a dead mink skin, not if you don't want to.
Instead you could donate any funds that you raise from selling a fur coat to your favourite animal charity.
There are various websites where you can list used faur coats including eBay, Depop and Vinted. But also check out these alternatives.
There are specific websites that specialise in buying and selling fur coats which are also worth a try. One example is The Vintage HQ.
Vestiaire Collective is another option especially for luxury, designer fur coats.
Fur Coat Upcycling Ideas
There are more and less radical ways of upcycling an old fur coat. It does depend on what condition it is in and what you hope to do with it.
The main thing to check in terms of condition is that actual lining of your fur coat. Vintage fur coats will often need their lining replaced. If it's still in wearable condition, then you may want to consider donating the item to keep somebody warm.
Fur coats can also be cut down into fur vests or shawls, or shorter more stylised fashion. Alternatively, smaller pieces of fur can be used for trims or cuffs on jackets, or to line boots or rain jackets.
Failing that you could transform your coat into something totally different. This could still be something you could donate, of course. Here are just a few ideas you could try.
- Throw or a blanket.
- Draught excluder.
- Pet bed.
- Pom poms.
- Textile art.
- Soft toys - teddy bears.
- Wine bottle cosy.
- Seat or stool cover.
Fur Coats and Animal Hair for Oil Spills?
Hair is really effective at trapping and absorbing oils. It can hold up to five times its weight in oil.
So much so that human hair is being used as a way to mop up oil spills.
Matter of Trust is collecting hair, fur and fibre to combat oil spills. This includes pet and animal hair. These are turned into hair mats which can be deployed at the scene of a spill to help limit any ecological damage.
The Ethics of Wearing Fur
You might be thinking, why can't we wear fur coats anymore?
Fur farming has been banned since 2000 in England and Wales. The import of any new fur is also banned.
The reason for this was largely to protect the welfare of the animals who were being farmed for their skins and coats.
Often the conditions were terrible, with animals mistreated and suffering.
Growing public campaigns and reactions have pushed back against fur.
PETA even threw red paint onto the furs that fashion houses were continuing to put onto international catwalks.
Since then a raft of fashion houses and brands have committed to getting rid of using real fur. Faux fur has taken it's place.
Ethics of Second Hand Fur: What do Others Think?
Wearing second hand fur poses some of the ethical questions raised by wearing second hand leather.
When we asked some of our readers what they thought of wearing fur, there were mixed responses:
"In my opinion there is nothing you can do as the animals were killed years and years ago, you can't save them now so to me it seems even more disrespectful to throw these coats and clothes and shoes in the bin. By the way I don't eat meat," said one reader.
"I have inherited four fur coats, originally worth thousands, now useless it seems. I have been looking for a charity to take them for over a year. PETA used to have a scheme whereby they could be sent to Ukraine and used. I know Romania still use them but I’m haven’t got a charity contact. There must be hundreds of people in my position. I love animals and they can be used for bedding but I just think if people are really cold, the coats could do some good somewhere," said another reader.
If the animal has already died for a fur coat, isn't it worth making use of it? While it is true, it doesn't necessarily mean you should keep wearing a fur coat out in public.
The main issue is that wearing real fur, whether it is brand new or your grandma's old coat, out in public can be seen to normalise it and make it acceptable for others to buy and wear for themselves.
An article in the Metro asked its readers if they would wear a fur coat. There was a whole range of reactions, with many respondents saying they would not. A few people said that they wear their fur coats but expect to be confronted.
An interesting response in that article was that somebody would wear their fur coat but pass it off as a fake.
On closer inspection you can tell the difference between a real or fake fur coat, due to the way animal hairs will point at their ends. Or you can brush aside the hairs to see how they are attached to the skin, rather than fabric.
But on the street, it all looks the same. Does faux fur normalise real fur or vice versa though? It's hard to say.
If you do have a fur coat and feel uncomfortable about it, there are lots of options for moving it on or using it in a way that can help those people and animals in need.