Eyes on the Prize, Watched by the Millions
2 October 2012Markets
Torben Nielsen, CEO of Kopenhagen Fur, hits the screen of CCTV-Crossover, an English talk show program with China Central Television (CCTV) with 40 million viewers across Asia, Europe, and North America. Hosted by Mr. Ji Xiaojun, one of China's most recognized faces-a rising star in the media world, Mr. Torben discussed with Duan Yanling, a local media pundit, fashion, luxury, and sustainable development in connection with fur and fur industry.
It all started with the rapidly growing luxury market in China where the rising middle class who command $75 billion urban disposable income, consume globally branded luxury goods voraciously. But there is confusion prevailing in this market as to what luxury truly is. "Luxury," said Nielsen, refers to "whatever that is more than basic." Therefore, luxury may not be affordable by all, yet it must be something that is inspiring. "Luxury," confirmed Duan Yanling, a senior marketing executive in Beijing, "is a life style aspired by all." Thus it is pleasing to see people purchasing luxury items, ranging from Zhu Xiaojie designed furniture in China and Jensen designed bicycles in Denmark. To this Nielsen agrees. Luxury is all about inspiring the best. "Like the Olympics," added Nielsen, "it is all about inspiring the gold medalists. With the luxury brands, it inspires designers and improves the life of the many."
Among the many luxury brands, Kopenhagen Fur stands out most prominently as a provider of first class fur material. According to Yanling, who has a fur coat passed down to her from her mother as a family heirloom, fur can be an ideal material for a luxury item, and by the same token, it can also be part of the high fashion. Why fur as the ideal material for luxury goods? Some experts described the use of fur as natural and inevitable. For consumers, fur as a fabric lasts longer and once made into an outfit, it is exclusively functional. Most significantly, it works great with designers of a new breed, like Zhu Xiaojie, who manages to find original ways to work with the fabric by incorporating fur into classical Chinese furniture making. Some of his pieces catch the attention of the design world in China quite recently.
As part of the high-class fashion, fur use also means high cost of living. Most recently, there emerges a movement for fast fashion among young Chinese consumers who buy more at cheaper prices. To Yanling, fast fashion means waste and pollution. To Torben, however, it is all about "consumer free choice." The idea is that you buy what you can afford, but you wear what last longer. It makes sense if considered in terms of sustainable development.
Yet, some organizations and individuals are looking at the emergence of fur in and outside China with their eyebrows raised questioningly. Regarding the question whether the industry can develop in a sustainable fashion, Mr. Nielsen demonstrated full confidence with his idea of providing the best, and inspiring the best. Kopenhagen Fur has been committed to discovering the most nutritious feed to breed the healthiest animals, while at the same time, the latest IT technology to produce the best quality fur. As for charges against the fur industry on grounds of cruelty to animals, Torben disagrees. "It is meaningless to treat our animals badly. It runs against our ethics and our laws. In the long run, we want to provide the best quality fur, hence we want to treat our animals, our raw materials with greater respect."
In closing, be assured the fur industry is firmly grounded on planet Earth. And most importantly, the fresh new designers are just beginning to discover the allure of fur. They are the future.
For the first time, as key representative of the fur industry, Kopenhagen Fur becomes the hot spot on the Chinese Central Television with audience group of billions. And this positive dialogue with potential fur consumers has just begun.