What’s up at Saga Furs?

Introducing Saga Furs’ brand-new CEO. Taking fur traceability to the next level, and brief about the 60,000 square foot grading facility located in Wisconsin. What awaits the winner of Eddie Reich Memorial Prize contest, and what’s the news on our upcoming Fur Vision collection? Here’s some information about what’s been going on at the company lately.

Markus Gotthardt commenced as the CEO of Saga Furs

The new CEO Markus Gotthardt has served as the Vice President Commercial of HKScan Finland and has more than 25 years of experience working with local and international companies, from small local start-ups to domestic and large global branded companies. His strengths include business management, brand building, and organizational development and management. The post-pandemic Saga Furs’ strategy and its implementation are one of the tasks that will widely affect the entire fur community.

June Auction

The Saga Furs June auction will be held online 13–21 June. The mink offering will contain up to 5 million pelts from both European and North American collections. The fox collection will include 450,000 Blue and Blue Shadow foxes and Silverfox. The comprehensive offering is accompanied by Blue Frost fox, and various mutation foxes and is completed with Finnraccoon, Karakul and farmed Sable.

You can follow the auction through our website or Saga Furs auction app. We aim for transparency by publishing brief reports on sales on our website. As a listed company, we also report the results through Stock Exchange releases.

New grading facilities in Wisconsin

The grading facility for Saga Furs’ North American collection in Milton, Wisconsin, is now fully functional, with graders receiving mink skins in the 60,000 square foot premises. This investment involved installing the first automated grading machine in North America. The automated grading targets ensuring high and uniform standard of operations aligned with the procedures in Finland. Combining the automated grading steps can reduce turnaround times and the need for storage, handling, and transport between the grading steps. Napping, quality, and finalising are still graded manually by the full-time staff.

Great progress on Saga Trac traceability system

In addition to the traceability system that has been in place for over a decade, the company introduced the Saga Trac traceability technology. It allows fashion houses to inform consumers about the origin of a single fur pelt to the accuracy of the precise farm of origin and to follow the journey of the pelt from the farm to the finished product in the shop. Based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the system has been tested in several pilot projects, and the aim is to introduce it in all pelts brokered by Saga Furs.

Fur design student cooperation in the US

In May, Saga Furs, along with the Accessories Council and the Gorski Group, took part in judging the winners of the Eddie Reich Memorial Prize contest and the FIT/Fashion Institute of Technology program. In memory of the well-respected member of the fur trade, the ERMP Foundation will continue to educate students and young designers in working with fur.

The five finalists designed and manufactured their luxury pieces alongside master furriers in New York, all of whom graciously trained and guided the students into bringing their designs to life. The finalists were judged on conceptual design and creativity, fur selection, materials and colours used, the appropriateness for the target customer, their technical sketches, and finally, their presentation and layout of the collection. The contest winner, Priscilla Ghaznavi will spend a week in Saga Furs Creative Hub in Finland with other fashion design students from North America, where they will further their knowledge of fur design and the new techniques.

Saga Furs Creative Hub – the Fur Vision collection is being finalised

Though the current situation in the world has made visiting the Saga Furs’ Creative Hub quite complicated, the Saga furriers have been very busy preparing the Fur Vision 2023 collection.

– Putting together a collection of 60–80 technique samples and garments is a lot of work. Just as an example, the making of a technique sample takes several days. Even the simplest design takes a couple of days with designing, stretching, nailing, pattern drawing, cutting, and sewing, explains Leena Harkimo, the Hub’s chief officer, about the work of the furriers.

The upcoming Fur Vision collection, planned to bring inspiration, will start in October, and consist of both long and short-haired fur types: Blue, Silver, Gold, Shadow, Blue Frost and Artic foxes as well as Finnraccoon.

– And naturally also minks in dark types and lighter colours such as Pastel, Sapphire, Silverblue, Palomino, Pearl, and Marble.”

This year the inspiration for the collection is drawn from nature. Different colours and designs reflect the shades and surfaces on earth, rocks, trees, and the sea.

– The collection nods a bit towards the 1970s and a Japanese atmosphere – but is a modern interpretation of these. To give the collection a fresh outlook, we are also working with designers who are not furriers by their training. We have also partnered with garment manufacturers to bring the techniques alive into actual fur pieces. Right now, at the beginning of June, we’re on the final stretch to make and receive all these pieces. Though we have a plan that we follow, it’s always extra tingling to see the whole collection come together, Lena adds.

In addition to arranging Fur Vision events (see the enclosed calendar of the Fur Vision tour dates), we are planning to host Instagram Lives so that as many of you as possible can experience the collection. We are also considering other ways of presenting the collection digitally for those who cannot join the events.