Rising International Fashion Star Billy Reid has teamed up with local New Orleans entrepreneur Cree McCree of Righteous Fur. Reid ordered 50 pelts after being presented with a “Surprise Box” designed by Loyola University Graphic Design student Vicky Tran for a marketing initiative intended to bring awareness to the eroding wetlands and repurpose the skins of the Nutria.
Reid, who has used the Nutria fur in his previous designs, has called it “bad ass fur.” McCree considers the concept to be “Glamour without the guilt.” New York Fashion week, which kicks off on Thursday, will feature Reid’s collection on Friday, February 10th. His garments will be lined and trimmed with Righteous Fur Nutria pelts.
Nutria, scientifically known as Myocastor coypus, which loosely translates as “beaver mouse” are native to South America. In the 1930’s they were brought to North America for the purpose of using their uniquely soft, warm and pliable fur. Often compared to mink but without the cost, Nutria fur is in constant supply in the bayou area. In the wild, the population of Nutria must be controlled. They eat away at marsh grasses and burrow into levees, upsetting an already delicate coastline. There is a state sponsored eradication program, which despite its success cannot keep up with the ever expanding population of Nutria.
In total, McCree sent out 20 of the boxes created by Tran to designers that included: Marc Jacobs, Cynthia Rowley, Rag & Bone, Anna Sui and Michael Kors among others. Louisiana native, Reid, was quick to respond. Celebrity favorite, Oscar de la Renta, has also used the Nutria fur in his work. The winning prize box included a history of the Nutria and a piece of their easy-to-work-with fur wrapped around a tiny dress form.