You’ve heard of sheepskin jackets, and snakeskin boots, but how about fishskin suits? Probably haven’t seen many of those at H&M!
Traditionally, the Hezhe minority, based in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province, would take the skin off a large fish, dry it out and then hammer it until it formed a soft material. They would then sew dresses and suits, which would be held together with threads made from silver carp skin. Whilst nowadays the outfits worn by the Hezhe people are more likely to be made out of cotton than carp, in the past these garments were considered a national dress for this minority group.
One big fish, with the durable and water-resistant material, would be suitable for a sturdy pair of trousers. The Hezhe people, who form one of the smallest ethnic groups in China, live near the Songhua, Heilongjiang and Ussuri rivers; this proved a resourceful way to fashion clothing. Beyond their tailoring prowess, the Hezhe people are also great fishermen. – K.B.