Fish Leather: A Positive Introduction to Ethical Fashion or Just a Hoax?

Fish Leather: A Positive Introduction to Ethical Fashion or Just a Hoax?

Imagine if someone comes to you and says that he is wearing a jacket made of fish leather, you will be surprised by it.

We all are well aware of traditional leather, which is made of animal skins, while uncommon leathers are usually created from reptiles.

Artificial leather has also made a name in the fashion industry for a long but leather that is made of fish skin is still unpopular.

However, this type of leather has been beneficial historically for the older civilizations that lived around coastal areas.

Since the fashion industry talks little about leather made of fish skin, this article covers all the details.

With the importance of sustainable fabrics on the rise, this might be another good introduction to your wardrobe.

What is Fish Leather?

A Brief History

According to historians, leather made of fish was first made in ancient Egypt. It was used in the manufacturing of clothing, accessories, and jewelry.

The Egyptians preferred the skins of Nile perch and the sturgeon in the leather they made. Fish leather was also quite popular in the Nordic countries.

The Arctic cultures used the skin of salmon fish to make clothing, shoes, and containers.

Because it is lightweight and flexible, leather produced by fish skin offers good protection on cold days.

The Nanai people of East Siberia were also highly proficient in making a variety of garments out of fish skin.

In Modern Days

In today’s world, skins from sharks, stingrays, sea wolves, salmon, carp, and sturgeons are suitable for making leather.

Leather made using fish skins is often scaly but the leather is thin as compared to the leather made from the calfskin.

Moreover, it is very elastic and shows extreme resistance to wear and tear, making it durable.

Usually, the tanning and curing processes make it strong and durable. The tanning process usually involves the removal of the fish scales.

The skin pockets left by the Baltic fish skin and Atlantic salmon form a pattern on the leather.

Burbot fish skin contains very fine scales that give the leather a wonderful texture.

How is it Manufactured?

Fish skin leather can be manufactured by using different techniques, from new and modern factories to old techniques.

Firstly, the fish skin is thoroughly scrapped to remove any flesh, and after that, they are stretched and laid for drying under sunlight.

Following that, the dried fish skins are tanned, which varies in every leather type.

Tanning of Leather

The tanning process for fish skin, such as lionfish, involves chemicals that are used in the tanning of cow leather.

Although the chemicals used here are less harmful than the chemicals used in tanning cow leather, they are still dangerous for factory workers.

However, a more sustainable way of tanning fish skin leather is vegetable tanning, which can be done with the help of wood extractions.

Vegetable tanning helps to preserve the particular qualities of leather, such as its surface.

Finally, fish leather is treated with fish fats or waxes to make it waterproof and smooth so that it makes a perfect clothing garment.

The Advantages of Fish Skin Leather

Is fish leather stronger than other leathers?

Some people are misguided that fish leather is delicate and is prone to wear and tear.

Fish skin leather has specific characteristics that make it more durable than other types of leather that have the same thickness.

When compared with traditional and vegan leather, it has a very high tensile strength. It isn’t easy to see since the leather is thin, but the multidirectional layers crossing one another give it its durability.

Odorless and Water-resistant

Leather made of fish skin is water resistant due to its high oil content. Another advantage is that tanned fish leather is odorless.

Once turned into clothing, it has a common odor, which can be eliminated using different methods.

Low Carbon Impact

Fish skin leather has a smaller carbon footprint than common leather and is eco-friendly.

Since it doesn’t involve any endangered species in its manufacturing, it is said to be a great introduction to the ethical fashion industry.

Disadvantages of Fish Skin Leather

Although it is also a byproduct of a living creature that is used for food, the cost of manufacturing is high.

Hence, the end product manufactured will be costly. However, a majority of brands using fish skin ensure transparency in order to keep customers informed about the costs involved.

Fish Skin Leather vs Cow Leather: Which is Better?

Most people often ask a simple question when they are buying fish skin leather. Whether it is better than cow leather or not.

The tensile strength of leather made from fish skin is relatively high and can reach up to 90 newtons.

Salmon leather is generally the toughest and shows incredible resistance to tear.

Cow skin leather, in comparison, has a very low tensile strength. This is because it has crossing strands rather than parallel fibers.

Moreover, fish skin leather has better elasticity and is waterproof since it is treated with oils at the end of manufacturing.

Aside from the advantages, the manufacturing of fish skin leather is also better in contrast to other types of leather.

How to Maintain Your Fish Skin Leather

Fish leather requires the same maintenance as what is required for other leather forms. They can be easily hand-washed using a very mild soap.

Hand-washing is generally the best method since it doesn’t damage the color of leather. However, it would be best if you avoided extreme scrubbing.

After washing, sun drying is considered the best method for drying your leather.

When you hear about fish skin leather for the first time, you might also ask whether it contains any odor.

Because fish has a distinctive smell, you should avoid the fish skin leather. However, tanned fish leather is naturally odorless.

But still, if you find any smell, ? Here is how you can

How do you get fish smell out of fish leather

The Use of White Vinegar

Because white vinegar can cut through strong odors, you can also use it to remove any odor that is coming through your leather product.

Baking Soda Method

Sprinkling baking soda on your leather jacket is also a good option if you want to remove odors. Baking soda absorbs odors well and may also be used to clean dirt and stains.

Special Leather Cleaners

Special leather cleaners can be used if you don’t want to try any household method.

But you must always be careful while using these specialized cleaners on your products. Therefore, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines before using them.

The Bottom Line: Is Fish Leather Sustainable?

According to research, over 50 million tons of fish waste is produced every year. Leather made of fish skin helps to reduce marine pollution.

Fish skin is now getting very popular since it is an eco-friendly material that creates a circular economy.

Local sourcing of raw materials and fish skins from fish farms ensures a decreased carbon footprint and enhances supply chain transparency.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *