Fin Projects supply organic clothing

Anna Vetsch, Nina Kunkel and Janine Wirth produce bags and accessories from sustainably produced organic leather under their Fin Projects label. The raw material for leather production comes from Bell Switzerland in Oensingen.

It all started with an idea. Anna Vetsch was convinced it should be possible to produce organic leather in a 100% sustainable process. After all, the food industry, and the Swiss meat processing industry in particular, boasts a number of sustainability labels. However, it soon became clear: things were not that easy. That’s because the origin of the animal hides played no role in leather production. Anna Vetsch finds it difficult to explain why that is: «Somehow, no one has really bothered so far to design a sustainable leather production process from end to end.» Organic leather produced with sustainability in mind did not exist in Switzerland.

Two years ago, Anna Vetsch and her comrade-in-arms Nina Kunkel went to Centravo. The company utilises all the by-products of the slaughtering process for which the Swiss meat industry has no use. This includes animal hides. The two women found Centravo were all ears. Centravo now faced the challenge of locating the right hides. This is because although the hides were clearly traceable on account of the ear tag, no one in the company could say which animal they came from. This required cooperation with the slaughterhouse. Stefan Ochsner of Centravo got in touch with Stefan Seiler, Head of Animal Production at Bell Switzerland. And he made sure that Bell informed Centravo which animal hides were suitable for leather production. «I wanted the best possible raw material for our leather and we eventually found it at Bell», explains Anna Vetsch: cow hides from organic suckler herds. There is no greater sustainability than this in Switzerland. The next task for Anna Vetsch and Nina Kunkel was to find buyers for their leather. But that proved to be more difficult than they thought. For this reason the two decided without hesitation to process the organic leather themselves. They brought designer Janine Wirth on board and the Fin Projects label was born.

The first collection from Fin Projects features three bag designs, a key fob and a carry strap. All currently available only in a natural look. The three initially decided against dying the leather during the tanning process to keep leather production as sustainable as possible.

«It’s not so easy to dye leather using vegetable dyes so that the leather keeps its colour. However, we are working together with our tanner in Tuscany with the aim of offering dyed leather in the near future», says a confident Anna Vetsch.

The lack of colour has not impeded the success of the products by any means though. The first collection has nearly sold out and some items are already in production again. A new collection is already being planned and the raw material will once again come from Bell. Anna Vetsch is already toying with new ideas for the future: «We would also like to produce shoes and furniture from our leather.» And if things continue as they have so far, there is a good chance that these ideas will be just as successful.