Laura Chicurel

Laureate 2008

Laura Chicurel

A startup providing eco-friendly salmon skin leather for the fashion industry and beyond.

Fashion and fishing don't seem the most likely partners, especially when it comes to eco-friendly initiatives. But that's exactly what happened when Laura Chicurel came up with a novel approach to addressing the problem of waste fish skins, by turning them into luxurious leather.

Laura was raised in Chile, which is the world's second largest exporter of salmon. The fish is sheared before it goes to market, leaving tens of thousands of skins to be discarded each year. A few local artisans make leather goods with the fish skin, but broad exposure to the world market has eluded them.

Chicurela, which Laura founded in 2006 with her partner Patrick Mork, has branded its own high-end line of salmon skin leather products for distribution in Europe and beyond. "We really wanted to create a brand that conveys the mysterious, other-worldly landscapes of Chile," says Laura. "But most of all, we wanted to make an excellent eco-friendly product for a wider audience."