They say the best leather are those from animals but you know, there are plenty of conversations about the topic. There is now a campaign to find more sustainable leather, and we have seen a few, like the leather made from grape skins and other fruit waste.
Sustainable fashion may be a challenge, but it can be done with efforts like this fish leather. This is the first time we’re hearing about this new kind of leather that can be used for different accessories. No, this isn’t exactly fishy, but Felsie knows what it is doing.
Designer: Antonia Gillett (Felsie)
The fish leather tannery and studio use bark tanning on rescued fish skins. These are those about to be thrown into the trash can but are instead transformed into fish leather. The processed fish leather is then used to make different accessories like a wallet or a cardholder.
The Felsie Fish Leather is long-lasting and may even remind you of snakeskin leather at first glance. Many people are asking if it smells like fish. It doesn’t smell fishy but smells like any other genuine leather. The texture isn’t exactly smooth but will be over time as the patina is developed.
When it comes to durability, fish leather is even stronger than cow leather. It’s thick because the fibers form a crosshatch pattern. It’s made from fish, but it’s not exactly waterproof. Felsie doesn’t want to use chemical coating, so it’s best if you maintain the dryness of the orange-brown leather.
Felsie uses salmon skins from the Dunkeld Smokehouse in Scotland. The leather starts with sustainably farmed Scottish fish sold as smoked salmon. The Salmon skins are then saved for tanning with willow bark using traditional and natural bark tanning methods. Even the process of sourcing the willow trees is sustainable. Tannins in the tree bark enter the skin and change the makeup of the fish skin.
Felsie is all about sustainability. It was actually “built with the concept of a circular economy. “ Fish leather is a material like no other and we imagine more products will be available soon. Right now, we know there are wallets and card cases in the works. However, we want to see bags and luggage someday and more leather goods like shoes, belts, coin purses, bottle holders, laptop bags, and journals. The future of fish leather is bright, so it’s high time we support this sustainable effort.