As a non-meat eater, my love for leather is usually vicariously lived through by other people's faux biker and leather bomber jackets. I love from afar because whenever I've tried one on the smell of leather gives me a slight ick factor. Of course, faux leather is a viable alternative for me, but let's face it, it almost never gives the same bad-ass effect as I want. There is one option that never crossed my mind before: fish leather. A company called Tidal Vision has already been making strides in sustainable apparel by launching clothing and accessories made of the stuff to launch this coming summer.
One major thing that separates Tidal Vision's vision from our standard, in-store leathers, is that the goods will be made from byproducts of the sea. That means that they'll take the leftovers from the fishing industry that would otherwise be waste and turn it into sustainable fashion for those of us on land to enjoy. Personally, I love wearing bones and animal parts that have come from road kill, natural causes, or hunting waste because it's preserving a life without adding additional cruelty.Tidal Vision's cause is definitely something that I can get behind. Good for the environment? Check. Good for sustainable fashion? Check. Cruelty Free? Check and mate.
Although the fishing industry doesn't produce as much waste as animal manure, the solid and liquid forms of waste still need to go somewhere. According to sources at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the leftovers from fishing industry need to be stored appropriately to avoid disturbance in our environment, and this seems to vary from place to place, which is affecting the visibility of the true magnitude the problem.
In an effort to encourage sustainable fishing methods throughout the industry, Craig Kasberg, a commercial fisherman from Alaska and founder of Tidal Vision, decided to find other uses for these byproducts. The primary sources will include salmon, shrimp, and crab — which honestly just sounds delicious. With my interest peaked, I spoke with Craig Kasberg, the founder, to see exactly what the benefits of rocking a tee made from crab could be. "The eco-friendliness of crab fiber textile, which is fully biodegradable, bio-compatible, and made from a waste that if just dumped (as it currently is) poses an environmental risk, with the functionality of activewear," he told me. However, when made into a shirt, it's totally useful. "Our crab shell fiber inhibits bacteria growth, making it odorless," Kasberg continued. "It's a natural wicking material that when blended with cotton absorbs 50 percent more moisture than cotton."
Say whaaaaa? That's pretty dope, IMO. According to Tidal Vision's press release, "approximately two billion pounds of waste is produced annually" from Alaska's fishing industry alone, making it the largest in North America. Not only does Kasberg's innovative apparel aid our environment, but it also alleviates the cost of resources for fishing companies to manage the alarming amount of waste.
Currently, Tidal Vision is still in Kickstarter mode, but Kasberg is aiming for the t-shirt designs and the salmon leather accessories to be available this summer, during salmon season. Although it's too soon to say just how much fish leather is going to cost, he's estimating the pieces will range from about $50 to $100.
Images: pilipphoto/Fotolia; TidalVision