Okay. Before you jump all over me about the use of salmon to make fabric, hear me out. This product created by ES Salmon Leather is made from discarded salmon skins. When I saw it for the first time, I was salmon struck. It was (and still is) absolutely beautiful.
The idea was spawned (sorry about the pun) from a government grant to find uses for the discarded parts of salmons. The Company invented salmon leather to re-purpose the salmon skins into usable exotic leather similar to snake skin without the ethical animal treatment issues.
What’s it Feel Like?
This is not your grandmother’s pleather. Wait! Was pleather around back then? Okay, well you got my drift here. I touched it, and I can honestly say talk about butter. It simmers, has amazing depth, beautiful feel, and is a must have for those who want the skin-look without the eco-guilt. (Yes, people call your designers. Don’t stop at go and collect your $200, just call. If you don’t have an eco-designer in New Jersey, then call mine.)
I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Stiven Kerestegian, CEO of the Company, at the Architectural Digest Home Show in the Spring. You can listen to the ES Salmon podcast here or click on the podcast at the beginning of the article.
The podcast is short and sweet but full of juicy details about this product. (Remember, I love green design just as much as I love eco-friendly sub-floors. Both make me swoon at the knees. If you remembered my piece on the Twin Maples Showhouse and its fab designers you know how much I admire good design. Go have a look see after you read this article. Gorgeous designs.)
Are they Killing the Fish for the Skins, Anna?
No. This is not your fur industry meets fish industry. Nor is the Little Mermaid poising nude on behalf of the fish. According to the Company,
“ES Salmon Leather is a noble and versatile material, made by re-purposing salmon skin which was previously discarded by the commercial salmon industry. The leather has some truly unique aesthetic and physical qualities, not only is it tough, it is very flexible.”
The Company has two lines. One that is tanned with regular tannins which includes chrome and another eco-line which is tanned with plant extracts. However, the eco-line leather line is more earthy in color since the use of chrome creates brighter colors. Again, a shades of green dilemma.
In both cases, the line is made from re-purposed fish skins, but one uses eco-friendly tanning methods and the other line does not. Stiven indicated during our conversation that he hopes one day that the Company’s entire line will be created using eco-friendly chemicals.
I bet you are wondering what can I do with this exotic leather? The Company show the salmon skins in their picture gallery as place mats, shoes (clogs, yet), fabric for chairs, and pillows. Check it out. The possibilities are endless.
How Tough is this Product?
As Stiven explained, salmons are tough animals. Look what they have to go through? They are naturally resilient. If you had to spend that much time in the water, your skin would be tough too. In fact, Stiven stated salmon skin is tougher than other commercial leathers available.
So, what is this going to cost me (says my husband…?)
How many of you have the same discussion? You absolutely love something and need it (so you think.) And then comes the question, “how much is this going to cost me?”
Salmon by its nature does not have full width skins. They must be pieced together. See here for technical information about how the skins are made into fabric. When all is said and done, each linear yard is about $100 depending upon which treatments you request. (For example, if you ask for lacquer to be applied, the price may be higher.)
Upcoming for ES Salmon?
Who needs un-eco leather skirts when discarded salmon skins can be used instead? The Company would like to venture into the clothing biz. Before you know it, Gisele Bundchen may be dressed up in salmon walking down the runway. Discarded skins…
In fact, Stiven forgot to mention in my interview that ES Salmon fabric was used in Isaac Mizrahi’s Design for a Living World exhibit at the Cooper-Hewlitt this past year! Hmm. I think this is a pretty big deal, don’t you?
See Mizrahi talking about his design exhibit in the below video.
So, move over pleather, here comes salmon leather!
Join the Conversation:
- Would you drape your chair in salmon leather?
- Adorn your bed with one of their salmon/wool pillows?
- How about wear a salmon skirt?
Photos courtesy of ES Salmon.