An american mink is a big and beautiful specimen of the species. And it became a base of the breeding of fur-bearing animals in the 1920`s. Today the worldwide market of farm mink is about 50 millions of skins. Depending on a place of rearing and a composition of ration mink fur has got quite different characteristics and it makes possible to divide relatively the whole mink market into several types. A Russian mink has the highest nap and thick high under-wool. A Scandinavian mink is the most widely distributed in the world (it occupies 80% of the worldwide market of farm mink). The main characteristics of it are the even nap of middle height and thick under-wool. There are two types of fur in this group: a Finish selection with a higher fur marked as SAGA FURS and Danish selection with a lower fur marked as KOPENHAGEN FURS. A North American mink has a low nap and it looks like a natural velvet , so long as a low nap almost hides in a dense, thick under-wool. The North American mink fur is divided into two marks of quality: American mark (AMERICAN LEGEND ® MINK) and Canadian mark (NAFA ® MINK). The best black mink has got its own name for both marks: BLACKGLAMA® for American and BLACK NAFA® for Canadian.
ALBERTA FERRETTI, "blue iris" minkAn American mink is an perfect object for selective transformations as its genes can give enormous quantity of mutations responsible for a fur colour . A range of natural colours of the farm mink is very wide: from white to black through all the brown and grey-blue colours. A natural black mink (its Finish name is “scanblack”) as any natural black fur has very dark brown fur indeed. A dark brown mink , called “mahogany” is a symbol of the classic mink fur coat. A “wild type” variation reproduces the original natural colour - gray-brown with a dark character. The light coloured Finish mink of a wild type is called “scanglow”, the dark coloured is called “scanbrown”. A light gray-brown colour has a name of “pastel”. Fur of a “lavender” colour has light tints of lilac and a light coloured under-wool. The next group of furs includes gray-blue colours: blue mink (“sapphire”) and its rare light coloured mutation, called “violet” ; gray-blue or silver-blue mink and gray mink called “blue iris”.The group of light colours includes: a white mink , light beige “pearl” and gray-beige “topaz” or “palomino”.
MISSONI, black cross minkThe mink which is the most widely distributed in coloured mutations is called “ black cross”. Its black fur along the character forms a bright cross on the white pelt in “the humeral region”. The rare variations of “black cross” mink look very splendid: they are a blue one (“sapphire cross”) and a pastel one (“pastel cross”). A “jaguar” coloration resembles a traditional white cow with black spots. There are some extremely rare mutations of mink in the world, when a number of pelts may be equal to several hundreds. Among them are a gray mink with the smallest white impregnations, so called “stardust” or a “marble” mink, which has dark yellow fur with chocolate coloured free designs.
egon furstenberg, mink "jaguar"In spite of a variety of natural colorations , mink fur can be dyed successfully in diverse colours. Besides the traditional methods of immersed dyeing and toning , a great number of complex multi-coating dyeing technique is also existing: light coloured furs have been dyed with reserving the top of nap. As a result, so called “snow tops” are appearing in furs. Wild-type mink fur may be bleached (the whole pelt or only its parts) to “golden” colour. The intensification of natural colours on the characters is being used very often. The technology of stencilled surface dyeing of mink fur in imitation “leopard”, “tiger” and so on was the hit at the end of the 1990-s. The most modern technological development in this field is the digital dyeing, when computers control the process. This makes it possible to any many-coloured patterns on fur. Designers are continually trying to change the structure of mink fur itself. The most frequently applied methods of fur processing are plucking and trimming. By plucking the nap is to be removed, but the velvety under-wool is to be remained. By trimming the nap has to be shortened. Fendi, bleached sapphire minkThe aggregated technologies of plucking + trimming are employed the most frequently: after removing the nap the “velvet” is to be trimmed up to the desired height, or it has been converted into a turbid “velveteen” (this is a technology of different levels trimming, or grooving). The “high” technologies of fur processing have got a wide distribution recently – a laser trimming (or rather burning out) when designs consisting of hair of different heights; or fashionable “sheepskin” coats made of mink fur.
The up-to-date dressing technologies also made it possible to equalize “historical” difference in clothing articles made of male and female mink pelts. But even today we have to establish: the article made of male pelts is heavier than the article made of female ones. But it should be certainly said in addition: the weight of article is increasing owing to a quantity of hair and its height rather than thickness of skin tissue.
FERRAGAMO, knitted minkSpearing about manufacturing technologies we should mention sewing methods: a mink fur article may be sewn of unbroken pelts or using “let out” method. In the second case a pelt has to be cut along the character into two parts , further each of them has been cut into stripes (with 2 – 3 mm width) in the form of herring-bone at a fixed angle. Than the stripes have been pushed together and sewn. As a result of such operations the fur stripe having the length of about one meter and the width of 5 – 7 centimeters has been created. When using “let out” method of sewing the possibilities of modeling are increasing, the fur article has not got visible joints among the pelts and it looks like a “monolith”. The method of so called “figured let out” also exists , when a fur stripe of any form is being sewn of trapeziform pelts. As usual, the details made with the technology of figured let out serve as decorative elements of the article.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER A fur knitted fabric winning more and more popularity occupies a separate place. This technology was created by Canadian designer Paola Lishman originally for a beaver fur. It requires a special netting base to be braided with a narrow stripe of fur.
One of the mink fur merits is its wonderful practicalness. With a correct caring and careful handling a mink fur overcoat can serves during 20 – 30 years. The hard-wearing capacity of a mink fur is equal to a sable one and makes up 70% of the standard , that is an otter fur. The popularity of mink fur articles has been growing from year to year. In spite of the fact that mink fur is the most universal and widely spread among furs, it can never bore. Its colouration and structural changing capacities are extraordinary indeed , its natural beauty has won the hearts of designers. Last seasons have demonstrated a strong interest of trend setters to a natural structure of mink fur. Today white , black , brown and blue minks are triumphally stalking along podia in Paris , Milan , London , Madrid and New-York deservedly taking the first place among the most modern and exclusive materials of a fashion industry.