So far, luxury brands have used fish skin leather sparingly in high-end designs—Nike reportedly experimented with making running shoes out of perch leather, and a company in Germany that modifies cars released a BMW with a salmon skin–trimmed interior. Elisa Palomino, a fashion designer and educator based in London, England, notes that Prada, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano, and Puma have also used fish skin leather to make clothes, shoes, and bags.

Several sustainability-minded initiatives and companies are now pushing to develop the emerging fish skin industry. Under FishSkin, a research project funded by the European Union, fashion designers, scientists, museum curators, and craftspeople are meeting for training and networking events to discover ways of producing fish skin leather sustainably and increasing the material’s use in the fashion industry. Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is promoting fish skin leather in its Blue Growth initiative, a program aimed at supporting sustainable and efficient uses of ocean resources. The FAO cohosted a fashion show in Nairobi in 2018 that featured pieces adorned with locally crafted Nile perch leather.

Fish skin is a byproduct of the food industry that often goes to waste, says Palomino, who spent 25 years working for luxury brands, such as John Galliano and Christian Dior and is involved in the FishSkin project. Every tonne of filleted fish amounts to about 40 kilograms of skins, which are often ground into animal feed or fertilizer, tossed into landfills, or thrown back into the sea. Globally, humans consumed the fillets of just under 150 million tonnes of fish in 2015. That’s equivalent to about six million tonnes of skins.https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-art-of-turning-fish-into-leather/.