Something’s Fishy and Really Cruel About Luxury’s New Leather Trend

By now, most of us know that trendy leather results from excruciating pain to animals (read as animals being skinned alive). Producing leather is also really bad for the environment, and the chemicals aren’t great for our bodies either. Luxury brands know we know, so they are serving up the next trend: fish leather, or fish skin. Because, you know, fish are so healthy and they don’t feel pain (yes, they do), yada yada.

Brands like Prada and Dior are eating up the fish leather trend. Why wouldn’t they? They get an affordable product that they can convince their cult followers is the next big thing, and sell for an outrageous price. Slap an expensive looking item on a Kardashian socialite, and that’s all the convincing that some need.

In reality, the next big thing in fashion is nothing more than leftover fish skin. The next hottest trend was originally ground up into food for pets. As reported in The Guardian, fish leather is nothing new, and, ironically enough, used to be the poor person’s leather. Apart from the price, fish leather has other perks: 1) buyers don’t have to literally buy the whole cow, so it’s great for smaller accessories; 2) the material is soft and “elegant”; and 3) it is also very flexible.

As The Guardian reports, fish leather tanneries won’t tell us exactly how they make it (red flag!), but the skins have to sit in a bath of chemicals for 30 days. However, E — The Environmental Magazine talked to a representative from Autralia’s Mermaid Leather who said that they “keep chemicals to a minimum with vegetable-based bark tanning methods” — although, we still don’t know which chemicals they use and what a “minimum” means.

Fish leather has already made its way into some luxury products. There are fish leather iPhone cases and wallets. Women can pick up shoes and bags. Long-term, fish leather might not achieve the same status as cow leather, but it will be an acceptable alternative. Our demand for cow leather overwhelms the supply, and it just might be reserved for the super rich.

Fish Feel Pain

No doubt, that cows skinned alive feel pain, but there is a widespread belief that fish don’t. Like we’ve learned about crustaceans experiencing anxiety, though, fish can also feel. And part of the fish processing industry that goes from fish to fillet is fish farming, and that’s not doing fish any favors.

As reported in the Ballard News Tribune, animal activists says fish farming is another form of animal abuse when they protested at Icicle Seafoods headquarters. The activist group claimed that Icicle kept 500,000 fish in bins where they weren’t free to move around. The activists also accused Icicle of inhumanely processing the fish: “fish are cut open in the abdomen, have their entrails removed and muscular tissue fileted while some are conscious – some skinned alive.”

Does that sound familiar to what happens to other animals? The fish processing industry isn’t good for the environment either. Thousands of fish cramped in inhumane conditions on an unnatural diet (largely GMO corn and soy) is a recipe for fecal and feed build-up that pollutes our oceans, as well as sea lice and diseases that can affect wild fish.

Fish leather is tangled up in the often cruel fish processing industry, so it’s a lot more than innocent leftover skins that we should upcycle.

Pain and Suffering Arent Luxury

Luxury should not be synonymous with inflicting pain and suffering to other sentient beings — it’s not good for the animals, the environment or our bodies. There’s nothing haute about fish leather, it’s just plain cruel. Especially, when we have vegan leather alternatives. The Vegetarian Resource Group has an excellent resource and guide on where to find chic vegan leather accessories, so you’ll never miss leather that comes from an animal. Guilt-free leather is a trend that should always be ŕ la mode.

Photo Credit: Tambako The Jaguar


Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

Disgusting! Sick sick people who produce and use this!!!

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

donna r.
donna r4 years ago

My post was cut off due to "too many words possibly" I do not know. I was saying the Mother cow cannot possibly have the same love for her baby that we humans have. It is ok for the factory farms to impregnate her time and time again and take her babies away because she is too stupid to know what is going on and does not have feelings anyway. Why would you care about her? (sarcasm) We humans have the ability to turn our heads to suffering whether it is humans or animals (watch "The Dying Rooms" most of you will think it is made up) That is why the majority of stockyards and slaughterhouses are set far off the road and in very rural area so we do not have hear or see the suffering. It is more comfortable for us that way. The slaughter trucks travel mainly at night as well. We can go in the grocery store and pick up that nice looking slab of rotting flesh or gallon of cows milk that was meant for her baby that is dying or sitting in a veal crate somewhere crying for its Mother, those things so neatly packaged and we can feel good, after all the USDA says its good for us so we should eat it. I am sure it has nothing to do with money (sarcasm) Also, I am sure the violence towards animals will never effect us or our children or society as a whole. I am sure animal torturers never start out at the slaugterhouses and then move on to hurt humans. We have the ability to rationalize all of this and even know there is evidence to prove the horrifying brutality that the animals are suffe

donna r.
donna r4 years ago

A few years ago two evolutionists produced the book, A Natural History of Rape. The authors alleged that evolutionary theory “applies to rape, as it does to other areas of human affairs, on both logical and evidentiary grounds. There is no legitimate scientific reason not to apply evolution or ultimate hypotheses to rape” (Thornhill and Palmer 2000, 55). They contended: “Human rape arises from men’s evolved machinery for obtaining a high number of mates in an environment where females choose mates” (190; emphasis added).

In other words we are not responsible for our behavior. Humans may be the most intelligent of creatures but we are the most savage. We are the same creatures that thought it was ok to enslave, torture and kill humans in the United States until some EXTREMISTS thought it was wrong, not humane and changed laws. Some of those people were injured and killed for doing so. I am that kind of extremist, I know it is wrong to enslave, torture and kill humans as it is wrong to torture, enslave and kill animals. What makes this so special is that they are a different species. They look different, they do not speak our language and they obey us so that means that they cannot possibly feel pain, have emotions, intelligence or wants and needs like us. They are just a mass of flesh that just exists. We feel comfortable with that. We get angry when someone tells us that the Mother cow wants to nurse and comfort her baby. How can that be? She canno

donna r.
donna r4 years ago

That is hilarious that Laurie said PETA paid someone to skin an animal alive and film it. LMAO. The sad thing is that people who call themselves intelligent will actually spew this sort of horsehockey as if it were believeable. Humanely killed..................Cathy? Please explain??? How would I humanely kill you? A bullet, poison, a bolt through your brain, slicing your neck, blunt head trauma?? If meat eaters did not consume these rotting corpses we would not be under a stinking pile of rotting hides. Btw I do not respect anyones opinion here or anywhere else that kills animals or is directly involved such as meat and dairy gobblers. And your insults (and they will come) do not hurt me. They show me how insensitive to suffering humans can be and how we can and have been able to rationalize brutality to animals and other humans throughout the centuries.

Sahar R.
Shari F4 years ago

Laurie S - don't kill yourself over the links thing. Sometimes I post and then the post disappears only to reappear the next time I'm on this website. I think it's Care2 just not being very technological. It's not a great website. Cheers.

M.N. J.
M.N. J4 years ago

Thank you for the link to leather alternatives. Handy for holiday shopping!

Manuela C.
Manuela C4 years ago


Mandy H.
Mandy H4 years ago

The luxury industry is disgusting and shameless! Why don't people see that wearing DEAD flesh is disgusting, you don't ordinarily run around in skin you found on the side of the road from some poor animal that's been run over but they fell it's okay if you buy it in a store and treat it with all sorts of chemicals.