For 25 years, two Australian brothers have successfully converted useless fish skin into luxury fish leather items.
Brothers Andrew and David MacDermott of Esperance, Australia, have built a successful business called Mermaid Leather using fish skins.
Here’s more about the company:
Mermaid Leather’s humble beginnings were inspired by professional fishermen, R.W. Bubb and Andrew MacDermott in 1989 who saw a need to use wasted skins from the fish processing industry. Tanning fish skins was unheard of at the time. So through extensive research and development over a four year period Mermaid Leather finally achieved a strong, aesthetically appealing and soothing to touch quality fish leather that could be used in a variety of unique ways.
The brothers have been transforming discardable fish skins into luxury fish leather for roughly 25 years. Their company, Mermaid Leather, is reportedly the lone commercial fish leather specialist in the Land Down Under. Due to the uniqueness of fish leather, it has appeared at the Melbourne Cup and similar racing fashions in the United Kingdom.
Mermaid Leather processes roughly 10,000 skins from about 5000 fish per year, according to WAtoday. Most of the fish skins are locally sourced from queen snapper, blue groper, pink snapper, gummy shark, bronze whaler shark. The fish skins are obtained from commercial fishermen.
“It all started as a joke at a backyard barbecue,” said Andrew McDermott to WAToday. “My brother was working in the commercial fishing industry and was interested in tanning, which he used to do with things like rabbits and snakes. A friend said ‘why not try fish skin?’, so he gave it a go and kept trying to perfect it.”
The fish leather sold by the brothers is commonly used on bikinis, hats, head pieces, and lingerie.
Who knew fish skins could be useful–especially in fashion? Amazing to see the production and sale of fish leather in Australia. It would be interesting to see fish leather makes a splash in the United States.