Craig Kasberg is an unlikely choice to shake up the fashion industry. The 25-year-old spent years working on an Alaskan fishing boat and is a rare sight at the shopping mall. But as CEO of Tidal Vision, the startup he cofounded, Kasberg is pushing sustainable products made from ocean waste like salmon skin and discarded crab shells.
The approach favors the environment as well as the $2.5 trillion apparel industry, which is fraught with waste, pollution, chemicals, and human rights abuses. The rise of “fast fashion” has allowed consumers to treat cheap garments as nearly disposable, discarding them after just seven or eight wears. They then end up in landfills, despite the substantial amount of water and chemicals needed to produce them.
Kasberg couldn’t believe how much waste the fishing industry dumped back in the ocean. So he negotiated with seafood processors to buy their scraps and launched Tidal Vision to transform those raw materials into products, among them chitosan, which textile companies can use in fabric for garments, and salmon leather, which Tidal Vision sells in sheets to fashion designers. It also sells wallets and belts in 130 specialty stores.
Changing consumer behavior to resist the allure of fast fashion’s ultralow prices could take a while. That’s fine with Kasberg. Tidal Vision, which has 12 employees and is backed by more than $1 million from investors, has diversification in mind. The company has deals to coproduce eco-friendly pool clarifiers and has developed an array of other products: preservatives, fertilizers, athletic fabrics, car seat cushions, even antimicrobial sponges. Tidal Vision will cast a big net to stay afloat—until fashion designers get hooked on fish-leather coats, that is.
This article is part of “The Future of Startup Innovation” package that appears in the May 1, 2017 issue of Fortune magazine. Click here to read more from the series.