Odd science: creating fashion from DNA
“Look at her shoes. If a fashion magazine told her to, she’d wear cats strapped to her feet.” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Even Buffy, the ass-kicking heroine for every daughter of the late 90s, was not immune from fashion judgement. When I was a teenager my Dad used to make similar comments about paper bags, typically in relation to my natty new threads. Fashion is very easy to poke fun at, because to the untrained eye it can appear very odd indeed. And sometimes, certain fashion innovations can make even the most Vogue-savvy of us do the double-take.
Slovenian fashion graduate Tina Gorjanc, has developed the idea of creating a collection made from ‘human leather,’ a fabric made in a lab using the DNA of late Scottish fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
I’ll let you take that in for a moment.
Gorjanc has already created a prototype range of backpacks and jackets, and is currently working on her McQueen leather so that she can create real items crafted from McQueen’s lab grown skin. In an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph, Gorjanc explains how her process works.
“You use a process which is called extraction, in which a biological agent is applied to the hair in the form of liquid and you extract certain genetic information from it,” Gorjanc explains, “and then you use that information to reprogram already existing skin so it is the exact texture and colour and everything of the original source, so in this case McQueen’s skin. It also depends on how much the hair sample is preserved as to how much information you can extract – fortunately McQueen’s hair was preserved in a good state.” — You can read the full interview here.
Gorjanc has some interesting ideas about the long term application of this work, to reducing the environmental impact of leather and creating more environmentally friendly leather-alternatives.
But for the moment, and as Buffy would have put it, this concept “just gives me the wiggins”.
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