Salmon Leather: A Fishy Fabric, But Will Designers Take the Bait?

Swatches from ES Salmon Leather, sea leather, sustainable textiles, sustainable fabrics, eco-friendly textiles, eco-friendly fabrics

Photo by ES Salmon Leather

SALMON LEATHER \ˈsa-mən ˈle-thər\

n. 1 a: A dyeable textile made from salmon skin—a byproduct of the fish processing industry that usually gets tossed into the landfill—using chemicals that are less toxic than those for tanning mammal hides because fish scales are easier to remove from skin than hair. (Note: no new salmon is killed expressly for its skin.) b: A resilient fabric that is stronger than most land leathers—and does not smell like fish. c: A reliable, affordable source of “sea leather” used by companies such as ES Salmon Leather, One October, Unnurwear, and Skini London in clothing, accessories, furnishing, home decor, and even bikinis.

Salmon leather was recently used in the form of die-cut paillettes by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi to create an entire ensemble (jacket, dress, open-back shoes) for the Nature Conservancy’s “Design for a Living World” exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.

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10 Responses to “Salmon Leather: A Fishy Fabric, But Will Designers Take the Bait?”

  1. khrysteenalee says:

    Wearing skin is disgusting no matter what kind of animal it came from.

  2. ES Salmon Leather says:

    Thank you for the post about salmon leather. Since you wrote this article ES Salmon Leather launched the product at 100 Percent Design Show in London, and won an award from the show’s sponsors, Blueprint Magazine, for “Best use of Materials.”

    As you correctly stated, salmon leather is a textile, made by re-purposing salmon skin, a by-product of the salmon farming industry. Normally these skins would be thrown away.

  3. […] what Ecouterre had to say about […]

  4. […] With improved technology, other strange and wonderful eco-fabrics have entered the fray, from salmon leather to fiber derived from […]

  5. myskinthings says:

    Congratulations to ES Salmon Leather for their award, but also for creating some hype around salmon skin products.
    We ourselves are in this business – please check
    Regards from Michael at myskinthings

  6. risc says:

    Salmon is not an environmentally friendly source of food or fabric:

    Salmon farms devastate the waterways they are created in and when the area is abused beyond use (usually resulting in algae-laden, oxygen-depleted “dead zones”) the farms simply move in to pristine waters to continue their unsustainable practices.

    You should do some reading into the devastation Norwegian multi-nationals are wreaking in Chile’s Patagonian fjords in one of the most remote, pristine environments left.

    It staggers me that a site talking about “vegan style” regards wearing the skin of another animal to be acceptable – but then it’s only worth protecting if it’s furry with big brown eyes right?

  7. ryandesignnorth says:

    In most fishing industries the byproduct (waste) after removing the food product is used to make excellent fertilizer. It’s a shame if the Chilean farmed fish industry was actually throwing this rich fertilizer away. And in that case should we really be supporting the farmed fish industry, given the ecological damage, and problems that the farmed fish industry creates (disease transmission to wild fish stock, using high-protein fish to feed farmed fish, addition of dyes to farmed salmon feed pellets, etc.).

  8. shelikesfish says:

    please watch the video Silver Harvest; as many of the claims you are making about salmon farms are untrue.

    I find the salmon skin amazing!

  9. skinless says:

    Man is presently King of this Earth.
    We shall use it to our best ability.
    Go Naked if you hate others so deeply and bare your true soul if you really dare.

  10. forthefishies says:

    Check out Tidal vision! They only buy salmon byproducts from fishing companies who employ sustainable practices and never from those who are further damaging the oceans/ rivers’ ecosystems—thereby incentivising sustainable fishing as a whole. Hopefully other producers get on board in the same way.

    In regards to khrysteenalee’s argument against leather in general: It doesn’t seem like people are going to stop eating meat completely anytime soon, so they’re getting eating anyhow, we should DEFINITELY be using the whole animal, right? Just saying.

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