Mastery and Sustainability in the Fur Industry – Interview with János Csányi

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy

In the multifaceted world of fashion and film, the fur industry stands out for its blend of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary sustainability debates. János Csányi, a key figure of the Hungarian fur industry, embodies the fusion of these worlds with his commitment to sustainable fur processing and attention to quality. His journey, beginning with managing agricultural pests in Hungary, has evolved to impact both the fashion and film industries, reflecting the changing dynamics of environmental consciousness.

In our interview with Csányi, we delved into his significant contributions to fur fashion, offering a unique perspective on the challenges and transformations within the industry, that ranges between the worlds of fashion and cinematic art:

BPR: Your start in the fur industry was unique, focusing initially on hamster-infested locations in the agriculture. How did this shape your approach through your career?

János Csányi: During the 80s and 90s, field hamsters were a significant issue, causing extensive crop damage. The common method of extermination was the usage of various poisons, which was  harmful not only to the environment, but to other species as well. Trapping proved to be a much more humane and environmentally responsible solution.

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy
Credit: BpR

So, we were dealing with a pest problem, but we approached it the best way we could. And it’s not only about the method of extermination, but what comes after that. This influenced my perspective on fur processing – there is an emerging need for sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, that can minimise environmental impact in our business.

BPR: What significant changes did you witness in the industry since then, and how have they influenced your business focus?

J. Csányi: Nowadays, everyone is interested in where the fur comes from, which aligns with a broader global trend towards environmental consciousness. Naturally, our business has evolved to meet these changes.

We’ve expanded our operations, offering a wide range of products that adhere to strict environmental standards. Our factory, established in 2000, handles the entire fur processing workflow, including cold storage, dressing, dyeing, and sewing. All our practices comply with EU environmental regulations, ensuring our products are not only of high quality, but also sustainable.

Additionally, we handle a variety of furs, including hamster, fox, and rabbit, focusing on utilising by-products from other industries. This approach contributes to a circular economy. Essentially, we are reducing waste that is produced by other industries. We aim to use  all available resources responsibly.

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy
Credit: BpR

BPR: Taking the demands of your business into consideration, is your approach to animal welfare manageable?

J. Csányi: This is a delicate yet crucial aspect. We believe in sustainable hunting and responsible fur production, which can, and should coexist with animal welfare. Our approach involves using furs from animals that are part of a controlled hunting for ecosystem management, or as I’ve mentioned, by-products of other industries.

BPR: Moving to your involvement in the film industry, what range of services does your firm offer to film productions?

J. Csányi: Our involvement is extensive and varied. We offer a wide range of services, from supplying fur costumes and props to specialised cleaning and processing. Our state-of-the-art facilities and experienced technicians ensure that we can meet the specific needs and tight deadlines of film productions.

Just to name a few productions, we have provided costumes and props for Netflix’s Barbarians, Shadow and Bone, and BBC’s The Last Kingdom. We made Halle Barry’s iconic costume in the 2004 film Catwoman. More recently, we worked on Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, and the upcoming series, Dune: Prophecy.

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy
Credit: BpR

If a production doesn’t wish to permanently purchase our work, they also have the option to rent. This allows multiple projects to utilise the same materials. Furthermore, we’re able to repurpose items like old fur coats for instance, transforming them into entirely new creations, all while minimising any additional impact on animals.

I’m also extremely proud that our firm excels in aging and distressing materials to fit the aesthetic requirements of films. This involves intricate dyeing and texturing techniques, which we have perfected over the years. Our ability to rapidly and effectively clean, dye, and age materials makes us an invaluable partner to film productions.

BPR: What were some of the unique challenges you encountered when working in the film industry?

J. Csányi: One of our most significant challenges was creating hide costumes resembling seals for the film The Eagle. The complexity of this task was not just in the craftsmanship required, but also in avoiding controversy associated with using real seal hide. We innovatively used deer hide, altering its texture and appearance through shearing, dyeing, and patterning to mimic seal fur accurately.

Another difficult project was when we had to make costumes for the film The North Water. They wanted clothes made of whale intestines, which would have been a troublesome task, to say the least. We ended up using beef intestines, but believe, not many people could tell the difference, if there was even any by the time we finished.

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy
Credit: BpR

BPR: Given the global rise in environmental consciousness, how do you view the sustainability of real fur in fashion? Can it be marketed as a sustainable option to the public?

J. Csányi: The increasing global awareness has put a spotlight on the sustainability of all fashion materials, especially fur and hide products. I believe that real fur, when sourced and processed responsibly, is a sustainable option. Natural fur biodegrades more quickly and doesn’t contribute to microplastic pollution, unlike synthetic alternatives.

Our production processes, which adhere to the latest environmental protection standards, are a testament to this. Moreover, the longevity and durability of fur products mean they don’t contribute to the fast fashion problem.

Interview, Fashion, Fur Industry, Sustainability, János Csányi, Ethical Sourcing, Film Industry, Fur Costumes, Animal Welfare, Costume Design, Fur Rentals, Repurposing Fur, Aging and Distressing Techniques, Environmental Benefits, Sustainable Fashion, Fur, Dune: Prophecy
Credit: BpR

The challenge lies in changing public perception and overcoming the negative narratives often associated with fur. We need to educate people about the environmental benefits of natural fur over synthetic materials.

BPR: What future developments do you foresee in the fur industry, and how do you plan to adapt to these changes?

J. Csányi: Our business is likely to be shaped by continued focus on sustainability, ethical practices, and innovative uses of fur in fashion and other industries.

Right now, we are effectively doing what we can, to meet these standards. We plan to continue investing in new practices and technologies that can revolutionise our methods, without risking a decrease in quality.

Source: Budapest Reporter

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