The global leather market was worth GBP 25 billion in 2013, but rising production costs and growing concerns about the ethical nature of the material has led entrepreneurial fashionistas to search out alternative fabrics. Doing just that, Heidi and Adele is a London based, luxury fashion brand that produces high end handbags and accessories from previously under-used eco-exotic materials, including eel skin and salmon skin.
The leather-like fabrics were formerly destined for the waste disposal unit, as by-products of the seafood industry, but the UK brand has found that fish leather is an attractive, strong and ethical alternative to traditional reptile skin products. The company source all materials directly from suppliers — eel skin is purchased from a farm in South Korea and salmon leather comes from Iceland. Heidi and Adele’s collection includes clutches, purses and shoulder bags. Prices range from GBP 20 for a sea snake keyring tag to GBP 220 for a large salmon shoulder bag. Fish leather takes dye easily, so they can offer products in a range of colors, including ice blue, hot pink and emerald green.
Heidi and Adele isn’t the first business to make use of the food industry’s byproducts — we recently wrote about Marlow Goods, which hosted a pop-up shop in the Wythe hotel, selling luxury goods made from the alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather taken from the animals served in the hotel’s restaurant. Are there other fabric alternatives for ethical fashion brands to consider?