Fur in Kastoria
Fur is recently under great demand. Greek Kastorian fur businesses may shrink in numbers, however Kastorian made fur garments seem to be in high demand for the same reason that Kastoria became the world’s fur center for many decades.
Even though opinions vary, fur seems to have reached Kastoria between the 10th and 14th centuries AD when in Constantinople emperors and other lords wore fur as a public show of status. Fur as a trade developed many centuries later when fur fashion dazzled high societies in all of Europe’s major cities. Moving into the 20th century, fur went through unprecedented popularity and furriers worked day and night to export Kastoria made fur coats to all parts of the world. In home based businesses set in the basements of their byzantine mansions, furriers designed, paired fur skins and fur pieces, cut and stitched fur garments to satisfy the increasing demand for fur. The high quality of Kastorian fur was soon recognized and became a trademark of the city, increasing visits by the VIP’s, high society and wives of the world’s elite looking for custom made furs.
And so fur moved into the 70’s and 80’s when a few thousands of businesses operated in Kastoria. Rising demand for fur workers from all over Greece, Kastorian fur artisans taught the art of making fur, providing employment to tens of thousands of families in the area of Kastoria as well as the nearby city of Siatista. Kastorian fur workers became amongst the best paid workers worldwide, dressing women of all ages in all of Europe and the United States of America. Soon enough Russia provided a new market target, much needed after the blows received from the so called «ecological activists» and the environmentalist movement against fur used in clothing. The financial crisis and the rubble devaluation would soon add up to a downfall which left the fur market much stricken. Many furriers were never able to revive and the number of businesses deminished greatly.
However fur manufacturing had already grown into Kastorians, who passed on the art of making fur generation to generation. As mass fur manufacturing has moved to China, the world’s finest crafted fur garments are still made in Kastoria. Fewer businesses, obviously modernized and better organized, have survived to produce the city’s world renowned product. They mainly supply the fur stores in Russia and the ex-Soviet bloc, Dubai in the U.A.E., as well as the Greek islands where scores of Russians, the world’s greatest fur lovers, enjoy a very wide range of Greek made fur products.
China’s recent economic expansion has skyrocketed fur demand in Asia. It seems that fur demand is reaching unprecedented levels and Chinese women may soon enjoy the high quality fur coats they deserve. Perhaps it’s time for Greek fur to travel beyond any Kastorian furrier’s imagination.