Joel Isaak: Alaskan artist creating fashion from fish skin leather

Fish skin leather is the fabric of choice for fashion designer and artist Joel Isaak, who has created masks, high heels, dresses and a motorcycle jacket using the natural material.

The Alaska-born designer, from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, grew up intimately connected to the land and the sea – hunting, fishing, and spending the bulk of his time outdoors.

Just as his ancestors did, Joel Isaak catches, skins, tans and consumes all of the fish that he uses in his art.

Fish skins were traditionally used to make utilitarian objects such as clothing and containers. But as times changed, few people were left who made those things, and the skill was almost made obsolete.

In recent years, several indigenous artists have started working with natural materials, including fish skins, to create items such as vases, and baskets. Joel Isaak uses fish skins to create not only masks and baskets but also wearable art such as boots, jackets and dresses.

Joel Isaak

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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