Fish skin on bare skin

26.08.16 | News
Fish skin is stronger than crocodile skin, can be washed in the washing machine, and is in almost infinite supply. In line with the objectives of a more circular economy, Nordic fashion designers are starting to take notice of the unique qualities of fish skin.

At the talk show Turning Fish Waste into Sustainable Fashion, which was held in August in Malmö, Sweden, political representatives and skin producers met with clothing companies and designers to debate the future of fish leather. For now, fish leather is an exclusive material, yet one for which demand is increasing.

“The fishing industry generates over 40 billion kilos of fish waste every year – this is a valuable resource. However, we must think across sectors if we are to achieve profitability in the industry. At the Nordic level, we have the potential to do this,” says Geir Oddson, senior advisor in the blue bioeconomy at the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Although the production of fish leather is more energy intensive than converting the fish waste into fish food, Oddson reminds us that the value chain is more profitable. The total cost of producing fish leather is roughly the same as for producing other types of leather. The production of fish skin can also help to create jobs in coastal areas that are facing depopulation.

Performance decisive for clothing manufacturers

Eva Karlsson, CEO of the clothing company Houdini Sportswear, says that the strength and performance of the material is vital if you want to produce clothes that are sustainable from all perspectives.

“Both synthetic and biomaterials pose their own challenges, but if we see the emergence of new, high-performance bio-based materials that enable subcontractors to guarantee an environmentally, socially, and ethically sustainable value chain, then we would gladly increase our use of bio-based materials. We’re also working actively to develop and increase the share of bio-based materials,” says Karlsson.

Watch the video interview with Geir Oddsson:

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