pThe arctic fox, facing extinction across Europe due to hunting and climate change factors, is the logo for Fjallraven, the Swedish company whose anti-fur stance is an antidote to the prevalence of real fur trim and accessories lining winter coats by other designers. A warming planet, triggered in large part by human output of greenhouse gases, is deadly for fur-bearing animals, who already are being trapped, snared, shot, clubbed, gassed and electrocuted to produce frivolous garments and trim for which superior alternative exist. The popularity of Fjallraven’s higher-quality, warmer coats highlights the utter irrelevancy of fur, but the company would truly be ethically consistent by shunning down and wool in their garments as well. The sheep and geese exploited for the skin they were born in deserve respect as well. Boycotting animal agribusiness-a significant contributor to greenhouse gases-would benefit bunnies, foxes, humans, and all other beings./p
pa href=””New York Times Article/a/p
pstrongMackage and Fjallraven: Winter of the Bunny or the Fox?/strong/p
div id=”photo”
img src=”/img/fur/furstore.jpg ” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”180″ /div class=”caption”Donna Alberico for The New York Timesbr /Mackage on Mercer Street/div
pBy a href=””ALEXANDRA JACOBS/a/p
pREPUBLICANS may someday regain control of the White House, but I think it’s fair to assert that their respectable cloth coats are seriously frayed, if not outright obsolete. Instead, the average American is Velcroing herself into a variety of vests, anoraks, puffers and parkas made from trademarked thermo-performance-tech-fleece./p
pThis is surely practical, now that winter as we knew it seems to have been replaced by a series of disorienting warmish days alternated with Cataclysmic Weather Events. But a great romance has been stripped from the coat closet, formerly a dark, perfumed place with Narnia just on the other side./p
pThere is one in the foyer, or “foil,” as I called it as a child, of the Upper East Side apartment where my parents still live. Painted forest green by the previous tenants, it for a time contained my mother’s modest fur coat, a honeymoon gift made from a ferret-like Chinese animal called a pahmi. Occasionally back then a grand visitor would sweep in and leave something more ferocious and identifiable. The glamour! The Blackglama./p
pWho will inherit the mantle of such seasonal finery as the apocalypse approacheth?/p
pMaybe Mackage, an under-the-radar Canadian coat concern in SoHo that I think of as the racy but lovable young cousin of Moncler, the Alpine skiwear monolith around the corner. Named for the mangling of the word “maquillage” by a founder’s niece, the company indeed imparts a high gloss to the business of keeping warm, with tight belts, plunging portrait collars and a small selection of what a rakish associate at Sundance, a licentious gleam in his eye, once fondly called “those tight, tight black pants.” The overall aesthetic is kittenish but with a brutal efficiency, as if Séverine, the part-time prostitute Catherine Deneuve played in “Belle de Jour,” had been suddenly tunneled into “The Matrix.”/p
pOn a recent visit to the store, which is decorated with gold stars and the de rigueur projection of runway shows on the back wall (it can’t be long before Eastern Mountain Sports is mounting runway shows), I fought for mirror space with a large man in Pittsburgh Steelers regalia, possibly an actual Steeler, and his tattooed girlfriend. She and I both liked the Adali-B ($640), a tightfitting hip-length jacket in black, brown or navy with sinuous asymmetrical zipper and billowing noose of fur./p
p”Rabbit on the outside, raccoon on the inside,” said a saleswoman standing in a sweater dress with her arms sternly folded. But would it stand up to the annual ski trip with the in-laws?/p
p”It’s more ski bunny,” the saleswoman hedged. “Water-resistant, not waterproof.”/p
pThis information made the brand’s “mini” line seem kind of offensive: a pint-size parka priced at $395 not only contains a brutal lesson about Flopsy and Mopsy, but also is constructed only to protect Suri Cruise from a gentle hail of paparazzi outside Avenues./p
pTHE polar opposite of this ethos can be found three minutes away at Fjallraven, a sensible Swedish outdoors outfit that is suddenly trendy thanks to the surge of underemployed, bearded and beribboned young people interested in wholesome pursuits like camping, craftwork and riding bicycles./p
pMackage is dark; Fjallraven is light: two levels of airy brick painted white. Mackage seems synthetic and intergalactic; Fjallraven is natural and earthbound, with dried leaves lying unswept, perhaps by design, at the entrance. Mackage is mysterious; Fjallraven is transparent: appended to its garments are booklets thicker than the twilight issues of Newsweek, explaining the company’s 63-year history and the virtues of its recyclable Eco-Shell fabric./p
pDespite being so indoorsy that I refuse to take hikes unless they are euphemized as “walks” – just call me Cheryl Stayed – I was seduced by the store display, which features upended canoes, wooden ducks, bracing scents (Incense of the West sampler, $25); and country necessities like a constellation guide and leatherette flask. It was kind of like being transported back to summer camp in Maine, minus the lumpy Wheatena and mean girls asking why you didn’t yet shave your legs at age 11./p
pI tried on the Nuuk ($499), a fluorocarbon-free parka in “ox red” with a boxy, desexualizing cut and fur trim around the hood with a strangely scratchy feel./p
p”Is this real?” I asked a mild-mannered man behind the counter. He recoiled in horror. “No. No.”/p
pBelatedly I realized that Fjallraven’s corporate logo and pet cause is the arctic fox, curled in defense against extinction on organic-cotton T-shirts ($39) and rucksacks. If the world ends in fire, I’d say the heck with it and wear Mackage; if it ends in ice, I want these dependable Swedes by my side./p
pMackagebr /
123 Mercer Street, (212) 925-1455;
pFjallravenbr /
262 Mott Street, (212) 226-7846;