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  • Sealskin

    Ecology, sustainability and the environment are issues that most of us have in our everyday consciousness. Fortunately. And what could be more sympathetic and sustainable than to wear a skin, that is the result and fruit of an ancient hunting tradition where the entire animal, from whiskers to tail, is utilized?

    The Greenlandic hunters do not shoot seals just for the skin’s sake. The skin is always secondary. Almost everything on the seal is eaten and the rest is given to the dogs. Greenlandic seal hunt is characterized by a deep respect for the animal, as it has always been the case from generation to generation of hunters. That is worth remembering.

    The seals live a free life in their natural habitat until the day they are shot. And since Greenlanders have always lived in respectful coexistence with the environment and the animals, it should be unnecessary to emphasize that the internationally exposed killings of baby seals in Canada could never take place in Greenland, where it is seen as both ethically wrong and a waste of resources to kill animals before they are fully grown.

    Seal Hunting
    There are no quotas for seal hunting in Greenland and the number of catches is low compared to stock size: in the North Atlantic there are approx. 17,5 million seals and only about 170.000 seals are annually killed in Greenland. Seal hunting requires a valid hunting license and females who are breastfeeding, and breastfed pups are protected. The vast majority of skins are sold to Great Greenland.

    National Costume and High fashion
    Sealskin is an integral part of the women’s national costume, which is

    used for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, National Day, confirmations and weddings. But sealskin is also used in contemporary fashion designs where Greenlandic fashion designers proudly incorporate their ancestors’ culture into their collections. Thanks to new techniques in tanning, dying, and scalping of animal skins, the classic Greenlandic skins and furs such as seal, arctic fox and mountain hare, are today so thin that they can be sewn into lovely evening gowns or beautiful tops, thereby combining thousands of years highly developed techniques in sewing animal skins with today’s high fashion.

    Economic Importance
    Hitherto a woman’s place in the social system was determined by her skills in processing of sealskin. If she was good the skins could be made into pure art. When money economy was introduced women’s skills in sealskin also became crucial to how well the catch could be converted to cash income. Sealskin is still the main source of income for many of the approx. 2500 full-time hunters in Greenland.