Ambika Friendly Furs, Ambika Conroy, Catskill Mountains, New York, natural dyes, all-natural dyes, angora, angora rabbits, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, local fashion, locavore fashion, faux fur, animal cruelty, animal welfare


Angora wool is said to be as soft as cashmere, but eight times as warm as sheep’s wool. Since the launch of her brand, Conroy has gone from two pet rabbits (they would “hang out on the couch and watch movies,” she says) in an apartment in Brooklyn to a warren of 13 in upstate New York. It was the first two, prolific shedders both, who planted the kernel of the idea. “I sought out spinning classes after their fiber started piling up, and my obsession continued from there,” Conroy writes on her website. “I was fascinated with the idea that I could make a finished garment myself from my bunny.”

As an animal lover, Conroy is driven by her abhorrence for the fur industry.

After diving into the study of angora-rabbit husbandry, Conroy’s flight to the country was all but inevitable. Besides the aforementioned rabbits, she also shares her home with two merino sheep, a couple of angora goats, a dog, and a cat. As an animal lover, she’s driven by her abhorrence for the fur industry. “I just [can’t] understand why we [have] to torture and kill all these sweet animals, when we could make an equally warm and luxurious product humanely,” she says.

Conroy hires a passel of local women to help her crochet the fiber into garments—one of the ways she contributes to her local economy. Even the buttons she uses are hand-cast by a company in the United States. For her next collection, Conroy plans to incorporate natural dyes made from plants such as black walnut, sumac, and vetch. “I hope to be able to collaborate with other designers in the future and to be a catalyst for the fur industry,” she adds.

+ Ambika

Originally published on March 30, 2011.