I make designer dresses from fish skin — this is the A-list fan I’ve reeled in

Designer
Designer

These outfits are sure to help people fish for compliments.

Isabella Taylor, who goes by Isab, creates dresses out of salmon skin, saying sustainability is her top priority.

The young Brit visits fishmongers and smokehouses to collect skin that would otherwise be thrown away to create her unconventional designs.

“Sustainability is the only thing I care about – the only reason I’m in fashion is to help be sustainable,” Taylor told South West News Service.

“If it’s not sustainable then I don’t feel good about it – it adds to the beauty of fashion,” she added.

She said the fish skin is lightweight and easy to mold. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
She said the fish skin is lightweight and easy to mold. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
The designer has been interested in fish from a young age. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
The designer has been interested in fish from a young age. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
The designer said once she starts making money she’ll start giving money back to fish mongers. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
The designer said once she starts making money she’ll start giving money back to fish mongers. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS

Taylor creates her fishy fabric by cleaning each creature’s skin. She subsequently de-scales each fish, tans the skin and dyes it.

The designer then drapes the material on a structure to mold it while it dries. When she’s done, with the skins they no longer smell and they last a long time.

“There are so many beautiful garments in the world but if you know they’re all made from new fabrics, it’s not beautiful anymore,” she explained.

Taylor first became interested in sea life when she was a child. She snorkeled while on holiday and took photos of fish.

The Brit, who has an identical twin, said she wanted to do something original to differentiate herself.

“Being identical in looks with my sister Alice, I wanted a way to express my uniqueness,” she said.

“Me and my sister did ballet as young children and our mom, Emily, made our costumes.It was part of the reason why I started sewing at 13 and how I became interested in art,” she recalled.

She said the fabrics no longer smell after she tans and dyes it. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
She said the fabrics no longer smell after she tans and dyes it. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Before she was a fashion designer, she was a painter. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Before she was a fashion designer, she was a painter. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS

Before she designed clothing from fish, Taylor painted the creatures.

“I started to paint dead fish and it became my niche – it’s easier to paint something that’s not moving so I used to use pictures from the fish counter in supermarkets,” she added.

While she enjoyed painting, the youngster wanted to engage more people in her artistic process and transitioned into design

“Fashion is the art you’re seeing day-to-day and it relates to a specific person as opposed to it being on a wall,” the fish-loving fashionista explained.

“Fashion can communicate emotions and it was more exciting to me than painting,” she further declared.

She’s attracted clients like Julia Fox. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
She’s attracted clients like Julia Fox. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Isab said she wanted to be different from her twin sister so she made clothes to stand out. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Isab said she wanted to be different from her twin sister so she made clothes to stand out. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS

Taylor creates mostly structural haute couture and credits the fish skins with giving her the ability to experiment.

“I love playing with specific properties of fish skin that you don’t get in other fabrics and this is what I’m using as the driving factor behind my work,” she said.

“These are highly sculptural pieces that barely weigh anything,” she added. “It doesn’t wear the fabric down or drape on the floor. The way the garments can be so light means you can create these surrealist couture pieces easily.”

Taylor’s designs have reeled in clients from around the world.

“I sent some garments to Julia Fox – her stylist reached out to me asking me for some for New York Fashion Week,” she said. “She didn’t wear them but they’re thinking of potentially wearing them for another event soon.”

Taylor hopes to get a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Arts in London so she can turn her fashion into a business.

“As for the future, there are hopefully two strands for my business.

Her designs are avant garde. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Her designs are avant garde. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Isab wants to get a Master’s in fashion. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS
Isab wants to get a Master’s in fashion. Isabelle Taylor / SWNS

“Firstly, I want to continue making these creative sculptural pieces but I also want it to be accessible,” Taylor enthused.

“I want branch out and sew the fish skin onto old charity shop garments to make super wearable every day items that anyone could buy or wear.”