It turns out roadkill is an easy sell, but only after Pamela Paquin gets her hands on the pelts. Paquin creates high-fashion fur pieces made from roadkill, an idea that at first garners grimaces, raised eyebrows and then, praise.
The Humane Society of the United States claims that millions of wild animals are struck by vehicles every year. In the New York state alone about 65,000 deer are struck each year. By comparison, 50 million animals are killed every year for their fur, Born Free USA reports. “We can all benefit if we shift to accidental fur as the industry standard. This would solve the designer’s dilemma, the industry’s dilemma. From what I’ve seen, the fur—which you can only harvest in winter—has incredible quality. It is absolutely possible, with the number of roadkill that we have currently, to replace the entire global fur industry and fur farming.”
Paquin grew up around animals and spent time on a dairy farm, which helped nurture her career of finding natural solutions to conflicting situations. As a global sustainability consultant in Denmark, Paquin focused on changing toxic practices by using nature, humanity and civilization. She mimicked natural engineering and implemented misused resources in other capacities. Paquin’s company, Petite Mort Fur, is an extension of that training.
Paquin’s end game is to become the go-to supplier for ethical fur. The Petite Mort Fur team consists of a pipeline of collaborators, from highway department and animal control officers to taxidermists, wildlife specialists and hunters, who help her collect wild animals who have met an untimely or natural death. “They see the toll on the animals’ bodies and they want to help my cause. Otherwise the bodies, and it varies from town to town, either get tossed in a pit, landfill or back in the woods.”
From there Paquin skins the animals, often in the same area that they come from, leaves the remains for other animals and sends the pelts to a tannery. After that, she and her seamstresses sew one-of-a-kind pieces. Each fur piece is adorned with a sterling silver badge bearing the name of the species and location of death. Products are sold at the brick and mortar store on Boston’s Newberry Street and on Etsy.
Petite Mort Fur translates to “little death” in French; it’s also French slang for a woman’s temporary state after an orgasm, and that’s on purpose. “The fur and the conviction to do this came from being a mother,” says Paquin. “No one wants to drive by these animals. There’s a loving, tending connection to the work that I do. ”