Legends of the Industry



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Sandy Parker – A Veteran Writer of the Industry

 

 

Sandy Parker is a veteran trade journalist who has covered the fur industry for over 40 years. He is the author of SANDY PARKER REPORTS, the weekly newsletter that reports news and trends in the international fur trade. His newsletter features up-to-date information vital not only to members of all sectors of the industry, but also to the ancillary businesses and professionals that serve it.

RB Media talked with Sandy Parker recently.

Parker’s career as a journalist began in 1960 with a job at Women’s Wear Daily as a reporter covering the then hoity-toity fur market in the US. In those glory days, fur was a premier fashion statement – every woman aspired to own a fur coat and the industry was delighted to comply.

“When I first started in the business, New York was the center of the world’s international fur industry with thousands of manufacturers. New York was the major exporter of manufactured fur products”, Parker explains.

Parker quickly rose in the ranks at Women’s Wear Daily to become Fur Editor – a position he held until 1977.

Trading on his expertise in the industry, Parker began publishing his weekly fur newsletter for industry insiders that same year.

The newsletter is an invaluable tool to everyone involved in the industry. It is the Holy Grail for top industry professionals – retailers, manufactures, dyers, dressers – everyone involved in the fur industry. The publication details every aspect of the industry’s news including pricing, upcoming events, who bought what and where, new trends, dying trends and everything in between.

Parker’s position as a fur industry voyeur, gives him a unique perspective. He has seen the overall industry change over the years and offers a dispassionate view of its future.

 


Sandy Parker with RB Media’s Koral Kanca at the NAFFEM Fair, Montreal

 

He believes the industry is still driven by fashion. He told us that more than 300 of the world’s top designers are using fur as highlights, accessories and garments.

But he concedes, the industry has changed dramatically. North America has become almost exclusively a retail market – dressing, dying, manufacturing majority is all done in China or elsewhere. The consumer market is strong and growing in China and Russia – they have the populations and the weather to support a strong retail fur market.

The anti-fur trade movement is a sore point with Parker. These groups prey on people’s sympathies to generate cash to purportedly save the lives of animals. What the public doesn’t know is that this is huge business the garners millions of dollars a year that lines the pockets of people who exploit the emotions of animal lovers. Without a fur industry, the natural populations of wild furs would overrun the ecology.

Parker mentions a fascinating event in 1970. At the time, the Animal Rights activists were on a tear about the clubbing of baby seals. Women’s Wear Daily send Parker to cover the annual seal harvest in the Aleutian Islands group. Parker went to Pribiloff Islands in the Bering Sea off the coast of Siberia to cover the harvest of Alaskan seals. The practice was to carefully select the seals and then bash them over the heads with large clubs that knocked them unconscious. They were then killed and harvested.

At the same time, the US government sent a team to assess the killing of the seals. They tested every technique of killing in order to determine the most humane method. After one week it was obvious that nothing came close to the club. It was, after all, the most humane method. Parker wrote about this for Women’s Wear Daily. His story was picked up by Senator Ted Stephens of Alaska and was included in the 1970 Congressional Record.

We asked Parker where he felt the industry would be in five - ten years.

He sees few brokers and manufacturers left in The USA. He sees North American fairs are getting smaller every year. He sees growth in mink farming and he believes that China – who has had a failed foray into mink farming, will eventually get it right. He also sees growth in use of wild fur especially muskrat and racoon articles in China.

Overall, Parker believes that the industry will remain strong and will continue to grow in markets outside of North America.

 


By Koral Kanca, Editor & Publisher
RB Media Group / EFURMEDIA.COM