Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fish in fashion?

High street retailers seem to think so.

Only very recently The Telegraph ran a story on an M&S handbag which smelt very fishy.  I have news for you; it's not a new problem.  Back when I was in sixth form, so around 4 years ago, I purchased a gorgeous bag from Miso in Republic.  The bag cost me around £35, so it wasn't particularly cheap!  After a few days, I noticed a fishy smell emanating from the bag; it was vile.  I sprayed it with perfume, Oust spray, hung it out on the washing line inside out.. Everything I could think of - but the smell would just not go away.  In fact, it was getting worse.  In lessons I'd open my bag and everyone could smell it, and started asking who had fish for lunch.  Cue intense embarrassment when I knew it was my sodding bag!  It began smelling like really old, rotting fish; I decided to return to Republic, handbag in tow.  The shop assistant opened the carrier bag, the smell came out, she gagged and called for the manager because she couldn't even look at it without vomming.  That's how bad it was.  The manager went to check other bags on the shop floor, and even in the stock room, to check I hadn't just popped a sneaky haddock in there.  They all stunk; he was in disbelief and gave me my money back.

I thought this was an isolated incident, although I was very careful afterwards every time I purchased a bag.  I'd meticulously sniff the inside for traces of fish.. Some had a whiff, I put them back on the shelf.  For a while, however, I've not come across any fishy products, so I thought maybe retailers had cottoned on to the manufacturing problem - whether it's the plastic, the glue, the dye.. who knows?  I presumed my bag had been trapped in transit with fish it was so horrific to the nostrils.

How ready I wasn't when I purchased a p-leather jacket from New Look over Christmas.  I'd gotten a gift card and thought I'd treat myself; treat myself to fish, apparently.  This is the jacket:

Very unassuming, isn't it?  Don't be fooled.  The jacket retailed at £35, so I expected a certain decent level of quality.  I've washed it (according to instructions), sprayed it with Oust and hoped for the best.  It still smells fishy in the arms, although it's faded in the body.  Do I return it?  Or hope the smell will fade?  I did wonder if it was just my particular sense of smell, but no, when I wore it the smell heated up and got worse. I got my family members to check and they certainly sensed the whiff.  

I just think it's highly disappointing that retailers have such lax quality control.  Anyone can tell these items smell!  I did wonder if it was something I was doing to the products that means the smell gets worse, but judging by the article from The Telegraph, it's not just me.  It intensely embarrassing to smell fishy, especially someone like me who is so meticulous over cleanliness and hygiene!  Bags are passable, since they're external to your body.. Jackets, however, are wrapped around you.  There's no mistaking where that smell is coming from!

What's next, a haddock line of handbags?  Pollock purses?  Sardine shoes?
Should retailers be pushed to pick better manufacturing products and methods?  And why hasn't this issue been more prominent?  Because if the media have noticed, it's not exactly 'under the radar'...

Fishy love,


  1. SARDINE SHOES!! I do feel your pain but this post made me chuckle. I remember a girl in pe having plimsoles that STUNK of fish, needless to say this received some lovely comments from the boys...

  2. Haha, glad I made you chuckle! And oh dear, fishy toes doesn't sound too appealing.. poor girl! xx

  3. Hahaha oh dear. I shall now be meticulously sniffing things before I buy them to avoid this fishyness lol!
    really like your blog btw!!


  4. I bought a handbag from Next beginning of last year that STANK of fish! I took it back the next day as I couldn't stand the smell, even the girl at the counter couldn't stand it. They figured out it was a treatment used on the leather apparently - lovely! If I buy anything that is leather I check if it smells first now! Katie xx

  5. @lily; it's always better to sniff before you buy! ;) i do it as part of 'checking' process, like no ripped pockets and undone seams, haha. i just HATE returning stuff i guess! xx

    @Katie; i've heard about leather bags/purses really stinking of fish as well. i've heard it's either the leather's not been properly sealed, OR, the most common one, they use fish oils to treat it. the most stupid thing, in my opinion, to treat a bag with FISH! so i guess i'll be checking leather as well as plastic/pretend leather products.. so much sniffing to be done.. xx