You can often tell the quality (and price) of a bag by its material. Leather? High quality. Snakeskin? Even higher price. But what about materials such as salmon and eel skin?

 

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Luxury line Heidi & Adèle makes accessories from food industry by-products

Date Posted: 26 February 2015

You can often tell the quality (and price) of a bag by its material. Leather? High quality. Snakeskin? Even higher price. But what about materials such as salmon and eel skin?

Ask British designers Heidi Carneau and Adèle Taylor, and they’ll tell you that fish leather—traditionally a by-product of the seafood industry—can make handbags that are on par, if not better than, conventional leather bags. Together, the two run Heidi & Adèle, a luxury accessories line that combines traditional materials (such as cow leather) with eco-exotic materials, including salmon and eel exteriors.

According to the London-based designers, fish leather is just as durable as conventional leather and absorbs dyes easily, allowing for the creation of collections that stand out in palette and hue. Fish leather has a slightly different texture, which brand loyalists see as a unique and distinguishing characteristic. More importantly, whereas certain exotic skins such as python require the illegal killing of endangered animals, fish leathers use byproducts of the seafood industry that are destined for the trash. Rather than limit resources, Heidi and Adèle chooses to use them more efficiently.

heidi and adele fish leather bag

Because social responsibility is highly valued by Carneau and Taylor, the company sources all materials directly from suppliers. Salmon leather is purchased from Iceland and the eel skin comes from a farm in South Korea. The brand, which is now 18 months old, has made a public pledge to never use endangered species in their designs. Their work, however, doesn’t seem to suffer—their newest collection includes chic “amigo” cardholders in both eel and salmon, and modern clutches in bright hues of both materials.

 

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