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Fishy feet? French company makes trainers with tuna skin ‘leather’

The brand collaborated with an established tanner, and is expanding fast, with a view to make an entire range of products with the sustainable fish skin

A photo of raw fresh whole tuna fish on ice

The fish skin is a byproduct of sustainably-fished tuna for human consumption, and is very strong and supple, the brand says. Photo for illustration purposes Pic: Soundaholic studio / Shutterstock

A French company is making designer trainers with leather made from the skin of sustainably-fished skin, which it says is very “resistant” and strong.

La Maison Pantuna brand is a result of a collaboration between a tanner from Tarn and the Barba group, which specialises in making items from sea products.

General director of Barba, Hervé Barba, told Capital: “Fish leather from [fish] skin is very resistant thanks to a ‘chaotic’ mesh of fibres, which is very supple.”

The company aims to “get value from fish waste from consumption”. It took two years, from 2016 to 2018, for the well renowned tanner François Roques to test out the method, said Mr Barba, and the company was eventually formed in June 2021.

The trainers are made in Portugal, and sold online, for €155, €185, and €205 depending on the model.

The tuna used for the ‘leather’ comes from “responsible and sustainable fishing, fished for human consumption”, Mr Barba explained.

The group has been successful quickly; it currently employs 80 people in France, and is on track to make €64million in 2022. 

It is also set to open shops in Béziers, Toulouse, and Montpellier.

It is now watching which products sell best, and which fish byproducts perform the best, before branching out to other items, including jewellery and other leather goods.

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