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Fish skin shoes set to make a splash; 'Fish skin is another piece of leather'

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- This is not another “fishy” tale. Newly-opened shoe boutique Zendalia is introducing shoes, bags, wallets and key chains, made of tilapia fish skin.

With the natural scale pattern in copious colours, these products are simply irresistible.

“Fish skin is another piece of leather,” said Zendalia (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Chris Tan.

“I saw the leather in Bangkok, but it was only used to make wallets and key chains. I thought, why don't we use it for shoes?” said Tan who has been in the shoe retail business for 12 years.

“However, using just fish skin for a pair of shoes may be rather monotonous, so we mix and match it with other leathers,” he added.

All shoes sold at Zendalia are made of bovine hide, or fish, snake or crocodile skin “to ensure the shoes’ durability and the wearers’ comfort.”

The boutique, whose name was inspired by Spanish word sandalia, which means sandals, opened its doors officially on Jan 18 at Lot 10 shopping centre.

“We aim to give customers very high quality products at reasonable prices. It’s not easy to find all-leather shoes at the prices we are offering, even the out soles of our shoes are leather,” he said, adding that price tags start from RM149.

“The designs are exclusive, they are works by Malaysian and Singaporean designers. We should be getting more designers from other Asean countries, as their works are comparable to that of international shoemakers. All they need is adequate exposure,” added Tan.

The products described by Tan as “elegant and exclusive” are targeted at ladies aged 25 and above.
“Having been in the business for more than 10 years, we know what Malaysian women want. I think they like shoes in such bold colours. Gone were the days when they wore only black or brown,” he said, adding that the boutique releases new collections every six weeks.

Zendalia is also developing a franchise programme to expand to other parts of the country and overseas.


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