Submission Date


Document Type



Environmental Studies


Richard Wallace

Committee Member

Patrick Hurley

Committee Member

Rudolph Henkel

Department Chair

Patrick Hurley

Project Description

Animal furs have been used in various manners through human history. Early humans cut crude shawls for warmth, and with the development of tools such as needles, closer-fitting clothing such as fur pants became possible. As time went on, products such as wool and cotton were used for clothing and, with fur alternatives, furs were reserved for the ultra-wealthy in some cultures. The image of fur as a luxury item has remained ever since, but simultaneously fur has become more accessible to the general public. Meanwhile, animal rights movements have successfully dampened interest in fur in some countries and communities. In the modern day, there is great variety in the ways in which countries in the Global North view fur. Case studies on the United States and Finland provide two different views on the history and progression of fur industries. Economic analysis of fur consumption and spending helps illuminate patterns in income and the demand for fur in these two countries in order to determine whether recent data on furs sales are in keeping with the concept of economic luxury.