The finest fake fur is on your doorstep in Norwich

Jude wears: soft brown stole from House of Handmade and earrings from Eclectic Eccentricity. Photo:

Jude wears: soft brown stole from House of Handmade and earrings from Eclectic Eccentricity. Photo: Sean Parnell. - Credit: Archant

Fur is on the fashion radar again and with it comes a whole army of faux fur offerings including a new breed that originates from Norwich. Emma Harrowing finds out more.

Fur has to be one of the most controversial fashion statements of all time. These days while some vintage shops has the odd piece of fox or mink the majority of 'fur' coats tend to be of the faux variety. Not that you can always tell, as like faux leather faux fur sometimes looks and feels like the real thing. The only emotion lacking is the guilt.

Or so the fashion industry would have you believe.

The debate on whether or not faux fur is actually fake or if the fashion industry is still increasingly using real fur under the guise that it is 'ethically sourced' rather than being a by-product of animal cruelty is still raging on. According to recent reports more than 400 designers now use real fur. It has become a lucrative business which is now worth around £11 billion. And with some Far East companies reportedly using cheap off-cuts or the pelts of rabbits cheap fur can find its way into the High Street, meaning that the 'faux' fur collar on your coat could actually be real.

How often real fux is passed off as fake is not known because there are currently no requirements to label real or vintage fur in Britain. So it comes back to the old chestnut of knowing where your clothes and materials to make them have been made and sourced.

Luckily Norfolk has an increasing number of fashion designers and makers so that you can see for yourself where your clothes and accessories come from. New to Norfolk design set is The House of Handmade set up by 30 year old part time art teacher Emma Bosanko in September. The company specialises in vintage inspired and original accessories including faux fur stoles based on 1900 to 1930s designs.

'I've always liked the look of fur in vintage fashion, but hated the ethics behind the industry,' says Emma. 'I don't see the need to use fur when there are premium quality synthetic alternatives available. Therefore I started The House of Handmade to design and make faux fur accessories based on vintage designs which are more accessible and wearable for people who don't want to buy generic goods from high street chains.

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'All of my faux fur fabric is sourced online and sent to me by the metre to be cut into patterns and later sewn together. The fur is made up from thousands of synthetic strands which are sewn onto a fabric mesh. The quality of the fur is fantastic and looks very realistic. However, if you feel it the material doesn't have the same texture and weight as real fur which makes it quite light and easy to wear.'

Emma designs the patterns for her stoles working from old film stills and photographs. She can also produce custom designs by request. Her designs include faux mink stoles, some even have 'heads' and 'feet' reminiscent of the fur stoles from the 1900s.

'These provide an unusual twist in a saturated market,' says Emma. 'The stoles are made using traditional sewing and making techniques such as cross stitch embroidery to create a nostalgic style.

'At the moment I have the Autumn and Winter collection and I'm hoping to develop accessories using vintage inspired cotton prints and cross stitch embroidery for Spring and Summer. I am also planning to expand the faux fur collection to include cuffs, headbands and bridal accessories next year.'

For more information on the faux fur stoles available from The House of Handmade visit