Wearing a fur jacket or carrying a fur-trimmed handbag is pure luxury. While fur is one of the warmest materials available, it’s also a stylish wardrobe addition. Fur clothing is an investment piece and a legacy item that can be passed down from generation to generation if it is properly cared for. Douglas Furs is the partner Charleston fur owners rely on to take care of their off-season storage, repair and reconditioning needs.
As a fifth-generation furrier, Gregory Albert of family-owned Douglas Furs works with customers throughout the Southeast to ensure their prized fur clothing is always in top shape. Since 1946, the company has provided the highest quality products and furrier services to its customers. Six times per year, Albert travels to luxury department store Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant for several days at a time, serving Lowcountry fur owners from this base of operations. At this venue, he and his team sponsor a cold storage drop-off event, where they accept furs and cashmere clothing from customers that are transported back to a UL-certified, professional cold storage vault located on-site in Douglas Furs’ Charlotte store for repair, reconditioning, restyling and storage—whatever the customer needs.
Since furs must be stored in cold conditions, Douglas Furs’ vault is a valuable resource for Charleston fur owners, as the Lowcountry off-season produces high heat and humidity that is detrimental to keeping fur clothing in its best shape. “It’s important to store fur in a climate- and humidity-controlled environment. Humidity dries out furs and ruins them, and moths and other insects love fur and cashmere,” says Albert. “Our vaults maintain a temperature of 45 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity, which is inhospitable to insects.”
Storing fur items improperly may cause irreversible damage when the leather under the hide cracks. Douglas Furs can prevent this problem by cleaning, glazing and reconditioning garments. This annual cleaning and conditioning process removes loose hair and odors and brings out the natural oils in the hide, redistributing it onto the fur so it remains pliable and lustrous. During this process, a furrier can repair anything that needs attention, such as a loose seam or a detached collar. They can also provide a routine inspection, with appropriate recommendations on what actions, if any, need to be taken to keep the fur in pristine condition.
Douglas Furs provides other notable services besides storage and repair. Its furriers restyle vintage pieces to make them more fashion-forward. Perhaps a grandmother left a fur to her granddaughter that is an awkward length or has a large collar. It can be reworked into more modern apparel such as a vest, bolero or cashmere cape with fur trim. Through the company’s “trade-in, trade-up” program, customers can trade in an older garment and get an allowance that goes toward the purchase of a new one from the wide range of products sold through Douglas Furs’ four stores and its website. The company also appraises furs for its customers, providing them with the documentation needed to insure their items.
For customers who don’t yet own fur apparel or accessories, Douglas Furs has the largest inventory of new and pre-owned furs in North Carolina and South Carolina. This year, customers are in for a special treat when Douglas Furs makes one of its regular appearances at Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, October 24–26. For the first time in its history, the company will take orders to create custom-made garments using designer Loro Piana cashmere imported from Italy. It’s a chance for customers to get exactly the luxury coat, cape, vest, scarf, hat or accessory they want that is uniquely styled for them, with delivery within 30 days.
Fall is the time of year when Douglas Furs brings its customers’ furs out of storage and delivers them back to their owners, in perfect shape and ready for wearing throughout the winter season. It’s also the time of year the company works with many men (hint, hint) who wish to order a fur for their spouse or girlfriend for holiday gifting.
“Between storage, inspections, restyling, repairing and cleaning fur clothing, we stay very busy year-round,” Albert says. “We always make time for helping our customers protect their fur investments and serve as a go-to resource for all things fur-related.” *
Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.