Discovering marine leather! We visited the French eco-responsible tannery: Ictyos. We tell you everything!
After three years of R&D, our three engineers (named Benjamin Malatrait, Gauthier Lefébure and Emmanuel Fourault) created Ictyos in Lyon, a fish skin tannery in partnership with fishmongers and restaurant owners all over France. They work in a short circuit with their network of local partners, which allows the company to control the traceability of the products.
With promising figures to its credit, fish leather is a material with a real future. Indeed, fifteen species of fish are now transformed into leather and tons of fish waste are collected by suppliers, thus participating in the circular economy.
Creating and selling fish leather means relaunching a sector that has disappeared in France based on the principle of the circular economy. The principle is to recycle fish skins that are thrown away to transform them into a quality eco-responsible material. And contrary to what one might think, this eco-leather does not give off any odor other than that of classic leather.
Supported from the outset by the Entreprendre Rhône network, an association that accompanies young companies. Ictyos has also been helped by ADC, which is a support system for the development of companies from the French leather industry, and finally the company has also been selected by the LVMH start-up house to co-design with the group.
Its use in textile design is growing and many designers have already taken the plunge. This innovative material can be used on many accessories such as jewellery, wallets, cases, gloves, etc. This material is very interesting to work with in leather goods and shoemaking, particularly for sandals or trainers. The applications of fish leather are so vast that they can be extended to interior design.
With a tanning time of 8 to 15 days, fish leather is part of an eco-responsible manufacturing process. To dye the leather, suppliers mainly opt for crushed mimosa bark, for Ictyos it is based on leaves, roots or fruits. This process is therefore 100% vegetable and natural. No special treatment is required for this unusual leather: it simply needs to be nourished and moisturised like its counterparts.
With unique grains depending on the species used, the condition of the original skin and the work done on the material, marine leather has everything to please. It is strong with its interwoven fibres and working with it is a breeze with a thread suitable for any leather. A wide range of colours is available to satisfy the desires of the most creative souls.
The company is currently expanding and looking to double its workforce. Also, Ictyos currently works with three types of skins that you can find below, as part of the development of their business, they may expand their range with other types of fish skins. Because today on the market, we find salmon, sole, sturgeon, trout, eel, sea bass and many others: each skin can be used. Thus, all textures differ according to the species of origin of the leather.
There are three types of skins at Ictyos:
– The SQUAMA product, which is made from salmon skin. This marine leather has the particularity of having a symmetrical, tight grain and works well for products requiring a large surface area (bags, leather goods, shoes etc). The variation can be : Glossy, satin, metallic, rough and gradient.
– The NOVA product is made from sturgeon skin. Sturgeon skin has “star-shaped spicules”. Each product is unique. It comes exclusively from French caviar producers. Two variations exist: Brillante or Mate.
– The LUNA product is made from trout skin. This product has a fine scale size and its grain is fine and regular. The product is available in gloss, satin and raw.
As you can see, Ictyos is an innovative company with a lot of potential.
On the Ictyos website, it is possible to order a sample booklet of the different variations of the SQUAMA product in order to discover the product and the different possibilities.
Discover the world of Ictyos!
Thank you again to Emmanuel for having received us, thank you to his team for the nice demonstration of skin colouring which requires a real know-how.
This eco-responsible material is an ethical alternative to chemically treated animal leather. Would you like to know more about fish leather and the many possibilities it could bring you? Find in our technical data sheet all the necessary information on the material (composition, properties, maintenance, appearance) and on the suppliers (names and addresses, prices, MOQ, direct links to sample purchases).