We asked Katherine, the Designer of Batliner:
What is Fish Leather?
It's the skin of fish that is tanned to leather. The skin remains as a by-product when packing fish for food. We use Salmon, Cod, Perch and Wolffish, classical fish that is eaten without the skin, usually packed and frozen directly on a ship. 8% of each fish is it's skin. This is a high number, so we thought it should be used. Imagine, it was just thrown away for decades.
Where is it from?
All our fish leather is from Iceland. There alone, every year, 25'000 tons of skins went to waste. A part of it is now tanned in Northern Iceland by our partner company. The fish come from the Atlantic Sea.
Why do you like fish leather so much?
It's one of the most beautiful materials that I
have ever seen. Each fish is unique, has a slightly
different colour tone and quite a different skin
pattern from another. That is rare and the big
difference to other leathers.
The surface has an intense three-dimensional structure and is extremely soft.
It looks fragile, will it last long?
It's almost unbreakable, much more durable than other leathers and gets even more beautiful with time, not just the skin, we also sew it as long- lasting as possible. We enjoy longevity more than replacing.
If it's waste, why isn't it cheap?
[laughs], Yes, that is how we think, don't we? It's a complex procedure mainly done by hand. We went to Iceland and looked at it. The Icelanders are very patient people. We photographed the whole procedure here.
Does it smell?
That is what so many people ask. It's a funny question, because no one would ever think that a lamb leather jacket smells like an old sheep barn - so clearly no, it does not smell unpleasant.
And if it is so fantastic, why isn't it known and used widely since a long time?
Because you can not make mass production with it. Shape, thickness and behaviour of every skin vary. Only highly experienced artisans can work with the material, otherwise it is destroyed during the working progress. It's not easy working with it, but it's definitely worth it.