Recycling And Repurposing Fur Coats
Fur coats were once the height of fashion and sophistication, but times have changed and fur is now seen as less tasteful and more tasteless. Wearing it out in public is generally out of the question – unless you’re willing to risk accessorising this beloved heirloom with a splash of red paint. Still, honouring your grandmother’s memory by wrapping it up in a trash bag and tossing it to the back of the wardrobe doesn’t seem quite right either.
Although inheriting a once-valuable fur coat may appear as somewhat of a first-world problem, it’s a problem nonetheless, so much so that the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing the phenomenon. It’s clearly a more common issue than the public may admit, but like it or not, people are seeking a solution to their pelt-based predicament.
Meet Meredith Combs, a Visual Artist from Perth, Ontario and the entrepreneur behind Muffle Up!, a company that offers custom-made fur pillows, lovingly crafted from your relatives hand-me-downs. Muffle Up! was originally created in 2012, after Meredith posted a pair of merino wool slippers that she’d made on Facebook.
“I asked if anyone would like a pair and there was immediately a huge response,” said Meredith.
“That was the lightbulb moment for me, I’ve been creating things for people ever since.”
Meredith didn’t just stop at slippers, Muffle Up! also sells mittens, cuffs and fingerless gloves, all made using reclaimed fur and leather. The company stands behind a strong ethos that firmly believes in reusing materials and therefore giving a new purpose to something previously outdated, whilst remaining conscious and respectful of their use of animal products.
It wasn’t until the business was up and running for four years that Meredith decided to introduce pillows to her product line, utilizing the fur she had on hand for other products.
“I took them along to several craft shows, having no idea if they’d sell or not”, said Meredith.
“They were immediately a huge hit, with one customer asking if I could make pillows from their own fur coat – which is where the idea developed from.”
Since then, Muffle Up! has received more and more inquiries from people interested in creating their own keepsakes.
“My work connects to people on an emotional level, they love the idea of having a piece of family history to display in their homes,” she said.
“Fur coats are such an awkward heirloom that nobody really wants, yet you understand how precious it once was to your grandmother and can’t just get rid of it. I instantly loved the idea of retransforming something unused into a functional item that can be shared and treasured amongst the family.”
As these coats and jackets were once such a status symbol, at times costing more than a car, most will bear a monogram of the original wearer’s initials on the inside. Meredith will recreate these and embroider them onto the new, repurposed pillows, making them entirely unique and presenting a tie to the original owner.
Every piece of work is viewed as a collaboration between Meredith and her client. Each order is entirely customisable to each individual family. A typical fur coat will have around five or six pillows worth of fur, but in the case of a larger family, Meredith will work with them to ensure every member has a treasured memento. The pillows feature a fur front and are backed with a wool Melton, which is almost like a felt.
What Can I Do With My Old Fur Coat?
If this product seems like a good way to turn your fur faux pas into a positive story, contact us today. Prices for this service range between 300-400 CAD, depending on the length of the coat or jacket being repurposed.
“The cost covers all pillow inserts, backing materials and other tools – I provide everything except the coat!” explains Meredith.
The process generally takes around a month from order to completion. During November and December orders may take slightly longer, due to the number of trade shows Muffle Up! attends.