Fashion

A French company is turning discarded salmon skin into leather

A French company is taking upcycling to a new level by using fish skins that would have otherwise gone in the bin and turning them into leather.

The salmon skins, which were destined for restaurant bins, are being used for high-end watch straps and wallets.

While it might seem like a bizarre new trend, using fish skins for leather is actually an age-old craft – it’s just never been used in mainstream fashion.

However, with its environmentally-friendly benefits, we could soon be seeing more of it.

Three friends behind the company, called Ictyos, are determined to make this process become more accepted within the fashion industry.


Co-founder Benjamin Malatrait said: ‘Salmon skin has a suppleness, and a finesse, it’s less than half a millimetre thick, but with a resistance which is nearly equivalent to cow leather.

‘It has a grain which is more marked, with scales that are a bit reminiscent of lizard. Visually it’s quite exotic.’

Ictyos has been given a six-month run inside a startup incubator run by fashion giant LVMH – owner of brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. The hope is that eventually the incubator graduates can land deals with the LVMH fashion houses.


Currently, Ictyos is working with 250 clients – both big brands and artisan producers – who are testing products to be used in watch straps, bags, and clothes.

But it seems the company isn’t the first to experiment with using food waste to make clothing and accessories.

Chipotle has launched a new range of clothes, with garments made with some of the restaurant’s by-products – such as avocado pits.

These avocado stones are used to create a dye for clothes and bags – with each one using around five pits to transform its colour.

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