The Fashion Of Fish Skin .. When The Poor Make a Rich Fashion

Fashion is all that is new and strange, for decades many international fashion houses have used natural fur, plants and animal skins to make unique and distinct pieces of fashion.

The abuse of raw materials, including clothing and accessories, has made many famous and shiny brands stop using fur or animal skins in their products after protests demanding that fashion companies cease harming animals in their uniforms, Of the world’s animal defense.

Among the most prominent companies that have pledged to stop using natural leather and fur were Armante, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Michael Cours, Gucci, Burberry, and John Galliano.

Chanel recently joined the company at the end of 2018, when it announced that it had stopped using natural skins such as “crocodile, snakes, and lizards” as reptiles on its way to extinction.

But fashion seekers have found a sustainable alternative to these natural leathers to offset the lack of resources, create jobs and make unique pieces of fashion. Paradoxically, this idea came from the heart of Africa, and in particular, Kenya, whose citizens living near Lake Victoria created the transformation of fish skins into leather products.

This impoverished country succeeded and expanded its project and spread throughout the continent.

About 300 fishermen from Lake Turkana in the north of the country were able to contribute to the export of these leathers abroad.

Kenyan origin


The idea began in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya along the border with Ethiopia.

The impoverished region is isolated, but it has attracted fishermen to catch Nile fish, which can be as long as six feet. Once caught, To Kittali where they are processed and shipped to all parts of the country and abroad.

In the plant in Kittali, workers are catching fish in a way that best preserves the skin.

Once the tanners have finished their work, the skin is washed and dried before passing through the various stages (soaking lime, welding, removing residue, cleansing, degreasing, and pickling).

Then the process of tanning begins by turning the skin of the fish, then comes the dying and polishing. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

Fish skins make a clean fashion as some call it (Pixabee)

Products made from locally harvested fish add value to fishing, offering higher prices to fishers, and produce local work as an alternative to community members, especially as Nile tilapia does not use its skin or is sold cheaply as animal feed or animal feed.

In general, 30-70% of the fish are wasted, while crocodile skins and snakes are high.

“I think the demand for fish skin will increase,” said James Ambani, chief executive of Victoria Foods, in an interview with DW.

“He thinks it’s a strange skin like reptile skin, reptiles are extinct, crocodile skin and snake are endangered. You do not need the necessary permission to export the skins of endangered animals.

Fish skins are used to make “clean fashion” as some call it, and those are jackets, shoes, bags, purses, belts.

Some designers even point out that the automotive sector is turning to fish skins to make everything inside the car like seats and carpets.

The idea and its success have inspired many people interested in bringing about a radical change in the lives of poor people and teaching them new skills that contribute to job creation and a decent life, including the Swiss Embassy in Cairo, which started the Aswan Skins project, which includes the use of low-value fish in the leather industry Such as shoes, clothes and ladies’ bags, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The project contributed to the creation of a huge economic boom for the Aswan women, which resulted in a good profit for all workers. It also contributed to the creation of job opportunities and increased the income of 1,300 young men and women in rural Aswan and indirectly benefiting 7150 people, including young families.

Last November in Nairobi, a competition for fashion designers using fish skins was organized and supported by FAO to tap Africa’s vast fisheries, create jobs and promote sustainable fashion.

“I was surprised when I found out that it was durable, long lasting and comes in interesting shapes and sizes, and I became more appreciative of the product,” said Jamil Walji, one of the designers who participated in the show.

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