Thursday, June 02, 2011

“FUR FLYERS” New York City, 1963


This could be a sketch of my good friend Jimmi G. back in the 60’s. She passed away 3 years ago and my world is a little dimmer because of that.

Jimmi was an imposing character. We met in NY City shortly after I was married and as I went on to have three babies she went on to accrue a tidy nest egg in the antique business. The disparity in our lives mattered little to us and we remained close friends.

Jimmie was forever looking for new outlets for her creativity and in the early ’60’s she hit on an idea that took off like wildfire. She took her accumulated cash and traveled through New England and the East Coast buying up vintage fur hats and coats. Many of them were missing buttons and some had even come apart at the seams. None of this discouraged her. She had an idea and to watch it come to fruition was exciting.

She came back to New York driving her old wooden-sided station wagon packed to the brim with fur items. She was a savvy buyer and had paid little to nothing for her purchases. Most people were happy to get rid of their musty, old outer wear and were thrilled to have made a dollar or two on the exchange.

The next thing on Jimmi’s agenda was a store front and she found the perfect one on 8th St, near Greenwich Village. She named her store “Fur Flyers” and opened for business on a windy, Fall day. A good friend of ours was a writer for “The Village Voice” and he gave her a great send-off. Within days it was apparent that Jimmi’s store was the “talk of the town” and it became the “in” thing to be seen in a vintage item from “Fur Flyers”.

It is interesting to note that a store of this sort in New York City could never be successful in today’s climate. Anti-fur Societies would be in an uproar. But it is just as interesting to note that Jimmi (who loved animals) would have found this ludicrous. To her mind she was not advocating the killing of animals to make clothing...

...she was merely practicing the age old art of re-cycling.

8 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Yes, the fur would certainly be flying over such a concept in these days.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

Good for Jimmie. I have seen these old fur hats in the movies and on TV. One epidode of the Marple mysteries with Joan Hicickson as Miss Marple(Pocket Full of Rye), shows a woman wearing just such a hat. I would have thought the theater district in NYC would have gone wild over Jimmie's discoveries. Maybe they did.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an animal lover and I have worked on several animal rights projects. I don't eat meat but I do eat fish. I would never buy a new leather jacket or fur, but I do have leather jackets that I bought at Goodwill. My vegetarian friend seemed to be ok with my recycled leather purchases - she said "At least your're not contributing to the problem". My other friend, who is not a vegetarian, said "What if people see you and think you bought it new? It might inspire them to buy a new leather jacket." He may be right. Everyone has a different place where they draw the line when it comes to what's ok and what's not ok. It's a tough call, sometimes. I wish I knew what the number one right answer was (if there even is one), but I hope you do have fond memories of your friend.

11:04 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Hey girl, finally catching up. Not sure what to think of the fur idea... I do like the recycling part.
Good luck with the corn! Let us know if you can eat it!
And I loved the peom about the mess. Years ago my class room was called organized chaos by one of the evaluation team. High school art. I got their respect tho when my kids would come in and go to their respective areas and get their stuff out and get to work. WE all knew where everything was! LOL! Guess your hubby did, too.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Very interesting. I like that she recycled the furs. I imagine that some of them were really fine.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

A neat idea; retro is in.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Interesting clip from UK newspaper about guardsmen's ceremonial bearskin caps ...

"Each bearskin comes from the pelt of a single Canadian black bear, killed under licence by Inuit hunters to keep numbers down.
Costing around £350 each, the bearskins are both warm and water-resistant and maintain their shape no matter what the weather.
The Army has 2,500 bearskins in service and needs around 100 new ones every year".

7:22 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I rememer in our house my mother had a fox fur collar, feet and head still attached. I never remember seeing her wear it. I assume it was popular in the late 30's and 40's. I am not sure what happened to it. Maybe my sister still has it. I would find it creepy now like the fur hat made my trappers around her that still have wolf head attched.

12:32 PM  

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