3 Sep 2014

Possum fur on the fashion catwalk

7:42 am on 3 September 2014

The fibre produced by New Zealand's number one animal pest has made it to the fashion catwalk.

And a possum fur processor is keen to see more fur flying in that direction.

The uniquely New Zealand yarn blended from possum fur and cashmere or merino wool has been a feature of Fashion Week.

The biggest manufacturer of the product, Woolyarns New Zealand of Lower Hutt, said fashion labels, Zambesi and The Noble Savage had included clothing made from the Perino yarn in their latest collections.

Woolyarns managing director Neil Mackie said it was a lift up for the possum wool blend which until now had appeared mostly in knitted goods sold in tourist shops.

"We've been producing the product for over 20 years, mainly for the local market, and we believe we have refined it to the point where it is world class. Also for us to grow any further, we need to be selling it to the international market, so hence our touch into the fashion market."

"Our next moves are to continue working with fashion designers but also show the yarn at a major yarn fair in Italy, next year, where we will be able to touch world-wide designers with the product," said Mr Mackie.

Neil Mackie, who also chairs the New Zealand Fur Council, said goods made from possum fur-wool blend yarns are now worth from $125 to $150 million at retail.