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A real game changer : The raccoon coat.

A real game changer : The raccoon coat.

Fur “Pimp Coat” Craze

Man has worn fur since he was living in a cave, but there’s something about this photograph and the men, all “pimped-out” in full-length fur that stopped me in my tracks. I had stumbled upon a snapshot of a moment in fashion history when American Ivy league-ers and young college undergrads began sporting heavy, full-length raccoon coats, which set the trend in 1920s & 30s men’s fashion and sparked a voracious demand for the extravagant garment across the country. If a man could afford a fur coat, he had one; bankers, salesmen and students alike used the style to signify or improve their social status.

And if you were a Ivy League undergrad in the 1920s with a reputation to keep, you wouldn’t have been seen at the homecoming game without one…

The trend allegedly emerged as a result of Davy Crockett mania and popular interest by an elite group of young Americans in his stories. It spread even further by popular big band music jazz musicians embraced by the students who sang about the Ivy-league fur fad.

The Ivy league-ers of the decade wore these coats predominately pitch-side for the cold matches whilst watching the varsity teams. Raccoon fur was the choice of students and spectators, which saw a strong demand for it well into the mid 30’s.

In 1935, the leading men’s fashion magazine Men’s Wear reported: “The raccoon coat is back in fashion. More were seen at the climax football games in the East this season than at any time in the past ten years. The best style, worn by undergraduates and alumni alike, is very dark in color, has a shawl collar and usually hefty leather buttons”.

These coats fell into decline as the world went into war and the depression set in. Time passed and the economy slowly revived itself and by the 1950s fur was falling back into the reach of the American middle class and college go-ers alike. The alumni of the roaring 20’s had now grown up and were handing their wears down to their sons to sport as they had once done.

By the 1970s, public awareness of fur had evolved (due to the ill-treatment of the animals), and many questioned the necessity of garments, in order to keep the style alive fake fur was advertised more heavily. Since then fictional and non-fictional fur has been tabooed and those that wear it are predominantly female.

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