It is a traditional processing of a region of China. But not only that, as it belongs to the cultural DNA of the Hezhen, an ethnic group that lives in the north-east of the People’s Republic, and for whom fishing is the first economic activity. For this reason, Hezhen fish skin tanning has a higher value than the industrial one. It is an endangered tradition, and therefore needs to be protected. Some artisan workshops, as we have told you, are committed to handing down clothing in carp, pike and salmon skin. The medium-length film arrives at Fashion Film Festival Milano, telling how training can help fish skin processing to survive.
Fish skin tanning
The documentary, directed by Zhongjin Zhang, won the Best Green Fashion Film 2021. Yes, green. Because the Hezhen tradition fits into the circular identity of skin. Transforming the dermis of caught fish into a fashionable useful material means elevating it, by placing it in an upcycling process. The alternative is to dispose of it as waste. The film is an excursus into the history and anthropological value of fish skin processing, but also an urge. Absorbing Hezhen skin in fashion, through fashion training projects, can be the way to save and relaunch materials.
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