Transcript for RoadKill Couture: Turning Dead Animals into High-Fashion Fur
Once upon a time, fur coats signaled the ultimate in luxury. For many this fashion week furs isn't that ultimate in cruelty. You're about to meet a designer who's out to change that. Her strategy? Skinning dead animals she finds herself. From roadkill to the runway is puchl or beastly? Here's ABC's David Wright. Reporter: No matter how cold it gets, don't expect to see much fur for New York fashion week. Unless it's faux fur like Rihanna's. Victoria Beckham's. Or Eva Longoria's. Pink joining the long list of celebrities to strip down. I'd rather go naked. Would they still rather go naked if they could wear fur guilt-free? Outside Boston, designer Pamela Paquin is pioneering a new approach to the fur trade. I've been told one of my contacts that there was a raccoon on the side of the highway in the breakdown lane. I'm not seeing it. Getting close. From what I've been told it's a nice, big raccoon and it looks like it's asleep. Oh, look at him. Reporter: Sure enough, the raccoon looks like he's taking a nap on the side of the road. This is where it starts to get weird. She gets out of the car and, like a stylishly dressed character from a police procedural, goes right up to the little guy. So I'm going to put on a glove because I don't want to touch the animals. A lot of them have rabies. Reporter: Bagged, tagged, tossed in the trunk of her car. Welcome to my world. Reporter: Five minutes of work. It looks good so far. Reporter: For a fur that could easily be worth $500. People will pay a premium for a clear conscience. You can have it now without ever feeling guilty. Champagne all night and no hangover. Reporter: Stoles. Hats. Collars. And other items that could sell for as much as $5,000. Explain the idea of this company. What is it that you're doing? Very simply, I pick up animals that have died on the roads and I harvest the fur so that there's an opportunity and an option for people who want to wear fur that it can be an accidental fur. An accidental fur? Yes. Reporter: Calling it roadkill probably wouldn't attract buyers. Free range fur? They live wild and free. But if they're dead, might as well make use of it? If they're dead, make use of it, that's that new England sensible Yankee Eth thick. Don't be wasteful. Reporter: Her company is called petite more fur. Jimmy: Which means the little death. It's also a pun. It's slang for looking like you're dead after an incredibly intimate experience. The French term for orgasm. That's what I want my clients to experience. Reporter: Yankee frugality meets european chic. Is accidental fur euphemism enough to make roadkill fashionable? What do you think we should pair that with? Reporter: Paquin took us to a fashion shoot for her website. The black bear with this. Reporter: The models and stylists delighted to mix and match. There we go. Reporter: Until Paquin goes to her car and gets that black trash bag. Inside it? The frozen raccoon. He's heavy. So is it okay if I put the plastic bag down somewhere? Reporter: Suddenly everyone's not so sure. I want it because this is not just about fashion for me. I started it because I love animals. We need to look at what's happening. It looks like he's sleeping. That's the whole sleeping beauty thing. Reporter: More like beauty and the beast. Maybe put that in front of him like you're protecting him. Yeah. Protect him. Yeah. . Surely there are not enough dead animals on the road to have everybody wearing fur coats? I'm not addressing fur coats at the moment. I only had about 100 animals last year. However, there are a million a day. A million a day? A million animals in the United States a day. Reporter: Paquin is hands-on with this process. She's a licensed trapper. We watched as she skinned the raccoon herself. You're doing this partly to be bad-ass? Not to be bad-ass, I'm already bad-ass, trust me. Reporter: The whole process takes about a half hour. This is the back fur of a raccoon. Medium-sized raccoon. Reporter: After she's done, we trudged through the snow into the woods. Where Paquin performs a little ritual. And puts the carcass to rest. All right. Good night, beast. Wu. Wow. Impressive. You're giving him a funeral. Yes. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And a blessing to go on to whatever's next. Reporter: Still, P.E.T.A. Doesn't like the idea of accidental fur any more than faux fur. They prefer shoppers avoid the look of fur altogether. Since it's so hard to be sure where that fur came from. But she has a growing list of customers. People like Kim being fitted today for a pair of raccoon leg warmers. Three of them are from Connecticut. It's double-sided fur. One of them is from new Hampshire. What difference does it make knowing where it died and roughly when? I think you can have the sense of more of the bonding, maybe. Or more symbolic. It's the circle of life. Put still. If I'm honest with myself I'm thinking, you're rationalizing a little bit. You're rationalizing mink coats. It's for mom. Reporter: One thing for sure, they do look warm. In fact, they look hot. So hot. Reporter: I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in Boston.
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