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There's something fishy about Nanai Leather..

Freestyle Magazine_nanai leatherPhoto: Nanai Leather

Named after the Eastern Siberian "Fish people" who first developed the method, Nanai Leather are producers of Salmon Skin leather. The fish skins were invaluable to the Nanai people's lifestyle, using them for everything from boats to tents, and the most beautiful and ornate skins were saved to be used for Jewellery and other special items. For the Nanai brand, this usage of only the most beautiful of the skins applies to every aspect of their business. Each salmon skin is completely individual and more beautiful than the next and also effortlessly more beautiful than a regular leather.

Freestyle Magazine_nanai leatherPhoto: Nanai Leather

The company, based in Bischofsmais, Germany have developed the skins using a Vegetable tanning method which is not only more ecologically sound than most leather tanning methods but also non-allergenic. The method involves using vegetable matter such as tree bark and other such organic sources whilst most leathers use chemical compounds such as formaldehyde which is now being phased out due to the sensitivity of many people towards the product and also the harmful affects it has on workers!

Freestyle Magazine_nanai leatherPhoto: Nanai Leather

Through the use of this new vegetable tanning method, the original structure and pigments of the skin can be preserved, meaning that the organic beauty of the salmon skin does not perish. Berlin designers "Mongrels in Common" were among the first to snap up this ingenious material and recently used Nanai Leather as part of their Spring/Summer 2010 collection shown at Berlin's Mercedes Benz fashion week.

Freestyle Magazine_mongrels in common_Nanai LeatherPhoto's : Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Titled "a Siberian Icelandic marriage". The collection is very masculine with ill-fitting suit jackets and large shirts but combines this with a very soft colour palette and bustier tops giving a feminine twist.

Freestyle Magazine_nanai leatherPhoto: Nanai Leather

The Nanai/Mongrel's collaboration is just one of many for this versatile material, it has been used in everything from furniture and jewellery to shoes and stationery and hopefully these inspiring collaborations will continue for the foreseeable future as I for one will be tracking this innovative and impressive companies achievements.