Fur has also remained a staple in fashion, especially in the colder months, and designers have shown it some love recently. Gucci's 1970s-inspired fall and winter lines for 2011 and 2012 seem to have jump-started the latest fur resurgence, according to fashion experts. As a result, many designers scrambled to find fur to accent garments.

Swartz points to Gucci's collection when helping customers choose new ways to refashion older garments. "I try and show our customers what is going on in fashion now," she said. "Some customers really get it and love it."

Karen Garalde, a Baltimore-based designer who specializes in using eco-friendly materials, has also been following the trends and is in the process of designing several pieces using recycled fur.

"This season I knew that I wanted to play with more texture," Garalde said. "I love vintage fur. I thought it would be fun and interesting. I noticed that there has been a huge trend for fur this season."

Garalde, who has made garments from items such as coffee filters and salvaged fabrics, said she has few reservations about using vintage furs.

"Since it's not new, I feel better about it," Garalde said." I know that it is sustainable. That's what makes me more intrigued to use it."

Environmental implications played a large factor when Hampden boutique owner Linda Pfleiderer decided to carry Harricana, a Canadian-based line of recycled fur products.

"We loved the concept of recycling and giving new life to things that would be thrown away," said Pfleiderer, who co-owns In The Details, a men's and women's boutique that has been open less than a year. "We thought it was a really cool line."

Customers have responded favorably, purchasing handbags, fur accented hats, scarves, and cross-body bags. Pieces range from $26 up to $514.

Her customers "are really into the fur, and they are into the recycled aspect. It's really good for the environment," Pfleiderer said. "And they are getting really cool-looking pieces."

Above all, customers like the look of recycled fur pieces, according to merchants.

"I love when customers come in and say they never wore it, and now it is their everyday coat," Swartz said. "That makes me so happy. We can always craft a coat. There is always something we can do."

Randall, the Pikesville resident who had two of her furs redesigned, is pleased with her new garments.

"I consider him an extremely lucky find," she said of Rahman. "I was going in blind. I was extremely pleased. My friends have beaten a path to his door."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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