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Q&A Rodney Ugent and Lori Nashban
Owners, A.J. Ugent Furs and Fashion


December 2008

A.J. Ugent Furs and Fashion is a third-generation Milwaukee retailer that dates to 1922. The founder, A.J. Ugent, came to Milwaukee from Europe and started out as a tailor. The business was passed on to his son, Morris, who then handed it down to his son and daughter, current owners Rodney Ugent and Lori Nashban. The store is located at 8333 W. Capitol Drive, but it serves the better part of the state. Internet orders are expanding its scope farther. Ugent says recently an order was received from Minot, N.D. "We do business all over," he says. The store carries a large collection of furs — fox, mink, beaver and chinchilla, for example — as well as leather and shearling products for men and women. The winner of the 2008 Master Furriers Guild award for cleaning and storage, A. J. Ugent also does special orders.

Your family has been in the furrier business a long time. What’s the secret of your success?

Everything is done right here. We are the dinosaur of the fur stores, as we do everything. We’re one of the few furriers who start from scratch. I literally have the skins and patterns. I do a lot of the designs. I start with a pattern and make it fit.

What are the latest trends in fur products?

The newest are the lightweight furs. Furs used to be very heavy. The way they are shearing them makes them lighter in weight, which makes them easy for people to wear. Also, the styles themselves and color. Any color in the rainbow, we’re doing.

What are the best-sellers right now?

A lot of large-brim hats done in either mink or fox. Very high-style. Vests and capes are very popular, because it’s a nice casual style. A few are reversible to leather.

The Hit List: A.J. Ugent and Fashion

The Hit List: A.J. Ugent Furs and Fashion
8333 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee

Coats, coats and more coats. A mainstay, the variety is almost endless. One we love? A burgundy dyed sheared letout mink coat with Russian sable collar and cuffs. Luxury has its price, and this one is $9,895.

Headbands. They are usually mink or fox, and are typically their natural color, but they will match colors "with anything," Ugent says. They sell for $150.


Green Bay Packers earmuffs. The earpiece is gold fur; the headpiece, green. Show you’re a Packer Backer for just $50. "There are a lot of things people can afford."




This story ran in the December 2008 issue of: