The brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand from Australia in the 1800s to jump-start a fur-trade. But the native Australian marsupials found New Zealand’s endangered native flora so tasty they’re now destroying forests and have been labeled an “invasive species.” If you’re a tree in New Zealand, that’s a bad thing, but if you’re Eco-Luxury Fur LLC, that’s, uh, a good thing? Eco-Luxury is marketing the possum pelts in the U.S. as “Eco-Fur.” You know, if it’s killing trees in New Zealand, we shouldn’t feel bad about wearing it. That kind of thing.
The marketing strategy might be new, but using the possums for their fur isn’t. Once used as aircraft insulation, brushtail pelts now make very soft wool-blend sweaters and thong panties (no joke). But even in this green-crazed country, it’s unclear if the new marketing ploy will work. First, people who are against killing animals will always be against killing animals. Second, Americans who aren’t joining the ranks of PETA are kinda grossed out by the whole “possum” part. And one shop owner in Portland, Oregon, who carries the “eco-fur” says no one’s buying it and no one cares about its “eco” label. Even so, “eco-fur” is a much better — though far more boring — stamp than Eco-Luxury’s initial label idea, “Awesome Possum.”