Dilan Porzuczek and Emmy Gauthier
Passion and a willingness to work hard are essential in the fur business, say Dilan and Emmy.

Dilan and Emmy share a passion for fur – a passion they are working to transmit to a new generation of consumers.

Emmy Gauthier is only 22, but her love of fur started very young.

“My dad would pick me up from day care and bring me to the shop,” she says. “By the time I was five I was making my own fur pom-poms!”

With a diploma in bookkeeping, and soon a BA in finance, Emmy has many career options, but she loves working with fur, and plans to join the business full-time when she graduates.

Dilan and Emmy sort skins
Sorting bundles of skins is the first step in making new garments.

Emmy’s grandfather launched Fourrures Gauthier, an institution in the Saguenay region of Quebec, about 200 kilometres north of Quebec City, and her father now owns the business.

“I am a third-generation furrier,” she says. “And thanks to my father, I have learned every aspect of the furrier’s art: I can cut, sew, and finish a fur garment.”

Emmy can even pluck and shear mink and other furs, a skill not many furriers can boast. “It is especially useful when remodelling older coats for our customers,” she says with a smile.

Shearing fur
Fourrures Gauthier offers in-house shearing, a valuable asset when it comes to remodelling fur coats.

Dilan Porzuczek shares Emmy’s excitement about fur, although he didn’t come from a fur family.

“I always wore fur hats and mitts; I had my first fur coat at 14,” he says.

“I was fascinated by fashion, and made clothing at home as a hobby. We had a year-end fashion show at my high school where most of the clothes were borrowed from local retailers, but I would have my own scene with four or five garments I had made myself.”

Plucking fur
Another valuable skill at Fourrures Gauthier is in-house plucking of skins.

The call of the fashion industry was so strong that Dilan began working in retail at 12 years old. While still in his teens he was working with a major retail chain, doing presentations and helping to open new stores across Quebec.

“To tell the truth, I didn’t go to high school that much. I always wanted to work,” he confesses.

He was 17 when his real love affair with fur began.

Lining a fur garment
Dilan prepares to line a fur garment.

“One day my mom asked me to take our coats to the local furrier for storage. I was a bit at loose ends at the time, and she suggested that I ask if they could use an apprentice.

“Because of my sewing skills, I learned quickly, and soon I was blocking skins, cutting and assembling garments, even sewing in linings. Because it was a small shop, I was able to do it all.”

Dilan had found his true vocation. A few years later, when his mentor was ready to retire, he took over Fourrures Léopold Martel, a respected name in the Saguenay region. At 28, he’s already an experienced master furrier, and loves sharing his passion for fur with his customers.

Assembling fur pieces
Pieces are assembled using various sewing machines.

“The other day I brought a remodelled coat to a customer and we were both so excited about how great she looked in it that I had already driven away before I realized I had forgotten to ask her to pay!”

Emmy agrees. “What I love about this business is that you experience the whole process. It’s not work, it’s creation!

“In most jobs you’re just one cog in a big wheel,” she says. “Here, I make a beautiful coat, from scratch, from beginning to end … and then I get to see how great my customer looks in it, how happy they are!”

Sewing seams on lamb jacket
Emmy uses a fur machine to sew seams on a Persian lamb jacket.

Dilan recently began sharing the atelier at Fourrures Gauthier, which allows these two enthusiastic young people to work together. So, how do they see the future of fur?

“Emmy and I share the same vision: our goal is to share the ‘wow!’ of fur that inspires us,” says Dilan. “We love creating new fur styles adapted to how people live today. Fur is no longer just for going to church on Sunday; fur is practical and comfortable outerwear that people can enjoy every day.”

And where do they go from here?

“The sky is the limit,” says Dilan. “Our strength is that we’re 100% autonomous, we do all the fur processes ourselves, right here in our own workshop – whether it’s a remodel, a made-to-measure for a customer, or production for other retailers. We are already well known in the Saguenay region, but there is no reason why we can’t grow our market across Quebec, Canada, and beyond!

“With the unique beauty and versatility of fur and its extraordinary environmental story, we believe that the future is bright,” says Dilan.

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