Design students from Viennese fashion school Sieben-Eichengasse have again competed in the Red Fox Austria Award competition last weekend, and demonstrated how nature conservation and fashion design can go hand in hand towards sustainability. Besides the design student award, there is also an award for professional furriers. True to tradition winning designs were announced at the Hohe Jagd & Fischerei fair in Salzburg last weekend, an international event hosting more than 45.000 guests.
The Red Fox Austria Award was initiated in 2007, in order to demonstrate to the larger public what creative possibilities there are for the use of the Austrian red fox. Every year 50.000-60.000 red foxes are shot in Austria for conservation purposes. Some 8.000 foxes are pelted and utilised by national furriers – and some again are used in the annual Red Fox Award.
“Fur is a natural, biodegradable material, and when you combine that with quality craftsmanship and interesting design, you have a product consumers care about and appreciate for a long time. We give value to waste, and the Red Fox Award works to make people aware of the sustainability qualities of fur,” says Otmar Sladky, President of the Austrian furriers’ guild says.
Hunting is popular, but strictly regulated practice in Austria. Only licensed hunters are allowed to shoot foxes, yet the practice is supported by 75 percent of the Austrians. Utilising the pelts for long-lasting garments adds an additional sustainability aspect to the fox hunting, and for the design students it is furthermore often their first opportunity to work with fur:
“Fur is normally out of reach for students because it is too costly to experiment with, but here we have an otherwise unlikely group of hunters, furriers and students teaming up to create a sustainable alternative to fast fashion. It is very inspirational for everybody who is involved,” says Otmar Sladky.
In addition to the national competition the students are also given the opportunity to submit their creations for the international fashion design competition REMIX. Very appropriate to the Austrian award, the theme of this year’s REMIX competition was ‘Responsibility’.