5 Reasons Why You Should Turn to Fish LeatherDate Posted: 10 March 2015
When we launched Heidi & Adele in 2013, we wanted to bring something new to the market, which would both fit with our sustainability ethos and had the capacity to fulfil our requirements in terms of quality, originality and wow factor. Fish leather was the answer we found and we’d like to share with you why we believe so strongly this is the material of the future:
1) It’s been around forever:
Like with most amazing ideas, fish leather isn’t new. For centuries, populations in the Artic used fish skins, specifically salmon and rainbow trout as footwear, clothing or for decorative purposes. This ancient art, still on show in museums around the world, was lost at the start of the 20th century and is finally being rediscovered. We are making it our mission to spread the word!
2) It protects endangered species
Exotic leather such as python and crocodile have always been used in the fashion industry but, for some reason, this trend has grown exponentially in the last few years. Too often, these animals are “farmed” in countries in South East Asia where corruption is rife and the high value of the skins make poaching a very common alternative to farming. It is claimed up to 90% of such skins could come from illegal activities! It is very easy for farms to buy poached endangered species from poor villagers and create paperwork certifying that the animal was brought up on the farm. This creates a vicious circle which not only threatens both endangered species and villagers - who target dangerous animals without protection - but also dupes Western brands and consumers into buying what they believe is a legal product.
As with most borderline trades, it’s best not to go there. We believe endangered species should be given the maximum protection they deserve and that no animal should ever be killed solely for the purpose of its skin or its fur.
Our fish leather comes only from non-endangered species and is a by-product of the food industry – meaning if the skins were not tanned to be transformed into leather, they would simply be thrown away, often back into the ocean where this practise is a known source of pollution.
3) It’s the best possible way of recycling
There are several forms of recycling and although all are useful, some will have a greater added value than others. For example, when glass or paper are recycled, they simply become new glass or paper. Nothing is lost but nothing is gained. With fish leather, we are transforming a valueless waste product into a high-end skin used for luxury items; it’s the closest thing there is to turning lead into gold!
4) It’s super strong
People are often surprised about the fact that fish leather is incredibly strong and hardwearing. This is due to the alignment of the fibers in the skin: in mammals these run parallel to each other but in fish they are in a criss-cross pattern, making fish leather much stronger on the same thickness basis. (note: fish leather is actually thinner than mammal leather, as such it’s strength is generally compared to sheepskin). It is said that the skin of some fish, when braided together could pull an automobile, though personally we have not tested that yet! It also doesn’t require any specific care which makes day to day maintenance extremely easy.
5) It looks and feels amazing
Fish leather is a particularly sensory materials. Visually, the different natural markings make each and every product unique. These skins are known to take colour remarkably well and as such we are able to provide a wide range of different variations. The textures of these skins is remarkable; eel has been dubbed the “silk of the ocean” for a good reason.
Hopefully this will help to explain why we are such great believers in fish skin and why in 2013, we decided to focus all our energy onto getting these eco-exotic leathers out in the world. We spent the best part of a year finding the best suppliers and manufacturers, and then visiting them to make sure our ethical values were aligned. It has been tough but incredibly fulfilling work and we were very proud to present our first eco-exotic collection in summer 2014. Hopefully if we keep spreading the word we can really get the eco revolution up and running and provide a lasting alternative to more traditional exotic skins.
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