“Saga Furs has succeeded in building a brand recognised around the world for its superior quality furs, sustainable practices and transparency that has made Saga® the most trusted label in the business.” – Pertti Fallenius, CEO, Saga Furs.
“From Finland with love” – laying the cornerstones for the international brand and auction house that lives today
The Saga Furs auction house was founded in 1938 by the Finnish Fur Breeder’s Association. The first local auctions took place in the 40s – laying the cornerstones for the international brand and auction house that lives today. Already by the 1950s Saga Furs established its reputation not only as a quality fur brand but as a premiere partner for the fashion industry. Also, the first international fur auctions were held in Finland in the 1950s.
To develop the quality of the fur, shows were organized to grade the animals. Since 1953, the international competition for pelts has been organized annually.
By the end of the 1960s Saga Furs had graced the pages of Vogue magazine but at the same time its pioneering efforts in improving business operations and making significant investments in animal feed and breeding, ensured the high-quality characteristics of the pelts that Saga Furs has become known for.
Partnering with young designers, students and universities has been part of Saga Furs way of working since 1970’s. Through competitions and partnerships, Saga Furs inspired a whole new generation who started testing new techniques and innovating how fur could be used in fashion.
Saga Furs took the big steps in the 1980s and 1990s
In the beginning of 1980s Saga Furs opened the doors to its newly built Fur Center in Finland and hosted the first auction at its new premises. Sales during season 1982-1983 was 6,4 million skins (incl. Fox, Finnraccoon and mink) and already back then 98% of skins were shipped to 30 different countries abroad. Another remarkable move from the 80s was that Saga Furs entered the Chinese market. Interesting fact is also that in the 70s and until now the biggest part of sales went to Western Germany.
Saga Furs become the first and still the only fur company to go public when it was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1986.
Saga Furs’ partnerships with the fashion world become the backbone of the brand’s strategy as the Saga Design Centre opened its doors in 1988. The first wave of designers visited to seek inspiration, learn about innovative techniques, and to get trained on the craft. This was a milestone that changed the fashion picture forever.
In the beginning of 1990, Saga Furs started developing the Sampo programme, the breeding tool for producers to registrate breeding animals and their genealogy. It also allows the producers to follow up sorting data for making quality analysis. The Visual Sampo was launched in 1992 as MsDos version, and its Windows operational version was introduced in 1998.
The 90s brought massive development for the brand and new techniques from the Saga Furs Design Centre further revolutionised the use of fur in fashion and interior. Additionally, during the late 90s automated grading machines further improved the reliability of Saga Grading System, known as the best in the industry today.
The Millenium – major achievements in sustainability
As the world rang in the millennium, Saga Furs rang in major achievements in ethical and sustainable practices. Today Saga Furs sustainability programme provides companies using Saga Furs a license to operate and end consumers and brands to wear fur.
Saga Certification initiative began in 2005 when Saga Furs teamed up with the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association to initiate ground-breaking standards for fur farming. The objective was to create effective, efficient processes and support best breeding practices. As a result, today Saga Certification ensures responsible fur for the fashion industry and set animal welfare standards with the most comprehensive standard in the whole industry. Saga Furs is still the number one choice for many fashion brands.
In 2008 Saga Furs introduced the industry’s first CSR policy and also in 2008 Saga Furs lead the industry again by joining the United Nation’s Global Compact initiative for responsible corporate policies. It also launched the first Traceability System that enables tracing the material in a garment back to the farm of origin. Traceability is something that no-one else in the industry can do and keeps Saga Furs again the number one choice for the brands who are becoming more and more aware in sustainability.
Additionally, Saga Furs launched ‘Fur Vision’ in New York in 2000 – a bespoke event for the fashion industry that transported the Design Centre’s craft, innovation and new techniques to fashion capitals around the globe. New York’s success was followed by similar events in Milan, Paris and London.
2010s and where we are today?
The Saga Furs Certification and Traceability System have achieved recognition as the platinum standard in the industry. The world recognises Saga Furs as the ethical pioneer of sustainable and responsible practices – something we are really proud of and going to develop even further, as for the new generation sustainability and responsibility are the key elements.
The breeding programme Sampo was taken to the millennial level in 2013 when WebSambo was launched as a web-based tool accessed through Saga extranet. Soon after, the mobile app version was also launched for quick and easy access on the farms.
The last decade has been significant milestones in Asia. Being one of the most important markets Fur Vision Asia was launched in 2015 bringing this prestigious event to cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul and inspiring a whole new wave of creativity in the Asian market. In 2018 Saga Furs launched a training programme at BIFTPARK HN to extend its fur innovation and craftsmanship to the creative talents for the future in China.
Today, Saga Furs works closely with more than 23 international design schools. We are also proud of the fact that more than 30 000 visitors have enjoyed the Design Centre experience and as a result roughly 70% of all runway collections from established and newer designers show fur.
As a result of all previous milestones mentioned the sales of Saga Furs skins has grown tremendously over the years. While in 70s the amount of skins sold during one season were around 3 million, in the beginning of 2000 the number was already 6,9 million skins and during latest fiscal year 2016-2017 the number grown again to 10,2 million skins.
And last but not least – the people. We are proud of our employees, partners, farmers, buyers and designers just to mention few of them. These people have been a big part of our long history and many of them already for decades.
Read more and get inspired by the history photos here: Saga-Furs-Heritage-80-years-story
Enjoy our Heritage video below!
Read more about what designers have to say about Saga Furs here.
Read more about Saga Furs sustainability program here.
Read more about Saga Furs Heritage here.
Get inspired and follow our journey also on Saga Furs Instagram here.