KNOWLEDGE

Handbag 101:
Caring for fur

By Koyaana R. Sep 26, 2019

Typically, fur is associated with coats and boots.

made for colder seasons. However, in recent decades it has been utilized for far more interesting purposes, including but not limited to handbag accents and luxury accessories. Fur can refer to both voluminous (thick or fine) and flat laid hair (typically, pony or calf).

What Is It?

Fur and hair are some of history’s oldest usable materials for multiple types of functional items; from clothing and shoes to blankets and bags. While we won’t go into the details of its preparation, fur and hair are the exterior coat of an animal that has been treated and/or dyed to the desired effect. Many furs and hairs that are commonly used are rabbit, mink, calf, and pony.

Mink

Gazelle

Lapin

In recent years, due to animal activism and controversy of its manufacture, many companies have opted to steer toward more sustainable and cruelty-free options by either eliminating the use of fur or creating pieces using faux fur. Faux fur is an engineered synthetic pile fabric that has been manufactured to look and feel like fur without the consequences of animal welfare.

Prada

Chanel

Stella McCartney

Is It Worth It?

Patent leather is an excellent material if you’re looking to switch up your look and add a new texture to any ensemble. With this leather, however, it’s great to know what to expect if you plan to add it to your arsenal.

PROS
CONS
  • Water resistance
  • Scratches easily
  • Unique glossy finish
  • Requires special storage conditions
  • Durable over time
  • Light colors are very prone to color transfer
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Melts/distorts easily under hot conditions
 
  • Can melt in high temperatures

Care

When it comes to fur, keep in mind that it is what was once the hair on an animal and should be treated as such. Note: Faux fur requires similar care and condition consideration, although it may differ. This care article refers to natural fur only.

Cleaning

Depending on the animal, most furs are delicate and should be treated with a light hand. Flat laying hair, such as pony and calf hair, is a bit more sturdy and can handle a firmer touch. For larger debris that may be stuck to longer fluffier fur, use a travel size detangling brush to lightly work it out. Do not tug, gently work out the dirt and associated knots. For denser or flat laying hair, a suede brush does wonders to work out larger pieces and light dirt. For light stains, create a light lather with a mild shampoo on a damp cloth and only work it in the direction of the hair. Do not go against the way the hair lays.

Storage

When it comes to storage, patent requires a bit more conscientious care. Preferably, always store patent handbags in a dust bag. When stored for a prolonged period of time pressed up against other items, color transfer is likely to happen. Patent is surprisingly porous and lighter colors will absorb darker colors it is in contact with. Storing in a dust bag not only prevents color transfer, but it also protects the bag from dust, moisture, and light. Prolonged exposure to light can cause significant discoloration and fading that is irreversible.

Wear

Finally, when wearing your patent leather handbag, color transfer can be an issue, so be careful when wearing it against dark or color-saturated clothing, such as blue jeans. To prevent this, it is recommended that you wipe down your bag after each use and avoid prolonged contact with darker fabrics that are prone to bleeding.

Originally published on April 10, 2018, by Sarah W. Article has been updated for consistency and accuracy.