Furriers, skin merchants, glove-makers and the like are a lot harder to find that what they once were. For the most part, they're non-existent. While we don't know of any glove-makers at present, furrier Jon Jackson of Linda Black, who works with vintage furs, is the man to see about that mink languishing in your closet.
Stepping into Linda Black, furrier and vintage fur recyclers, feels like stepping into a former era. This spacious salon evokes old-world romance with its large glass windows and a lofty pressed-metal ceiling. The walls are lined with rabbit, fox and sable in chocolate, champagne and caramel – and adorned with vintage posters of fur-enveloped beauties. A dusty bookshelf houses books published in the thirties, while Russian hats draw the eye to the upper shelves.
But this is a workroom as much a retail space. Jackson perches at a massive workbench, deftly unpicking tiny stitches on the sleeve of 60-year-old coat. Opera swells in the background as he chats easily about recycling, remodelling and reinventing old furs into something new.
Jackson is an articulate man with a background in theatre and a passion for fur recycling. He and partner Quoc Hyunh established Linda Black on Chapel Street in 2002 and were recycling furs long before it was fashionable. They relocated in July 2011 – injecting the McKinnon Road strip with a burst of glamour.
Many customers have inherited furs and, because they’re so beautiful, don’t want to throw them out. One lady came in with a bag of family furs that Jackson stripped back, broke up and resewed into a bedspread. Other furs are resized, remade into scarves, vests, stoles and throws – and even framed.