A fashion student is hoping to create handbags using the skin of Alexander McQueen as leather.
That may sound like a plot line straight from The Silence Of The Lambs but the woman behind the idea is adamant it isn’t creepy, and could provide a new ethical source of material, reports the Daily Mirror.
Tina Gorjanc extracted the DNA of McQueen -who committed suicide in 2010- from one of his hairs which the designer had incorporated into the labels of his own first collection.
The Slovenian student has made test samples of ‘leather’ from McQueen’s DNA and told The Telegraph:
You use a process which is called de-extinction, in which a biological agent is applied to the hair in the form of liquid and you extract certain genetic information from it.
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.
Gorjanc took to her own Facebook page to emphasise that she doesn’t think there is anything weird about the ‘Pure Human’ project.
I think it is fair for me to make sure the project receives the attention for the right reasons and not be diminished to just a ‘creepy fashion collection made of human skin from a known personality’.
All the initial samples that were made in the lab are tests to ensure that the technology is even possible.
However, this kind of procedures are still much undiscovered and big bio-engineering organisations with bigger budgets have better possibilities of developing it further.
Gorjanc has a point – it is an organic growth of new material, it isn’t like she is suggesting we skin the dead, but the topic has raised a significant issue.
Because of the lack of legislation surrounding the protection of genetic materials I wanted to showcase how someone can gain hold of biological material from sources you would usually think extremely protected.
McQueen’s genetic information was interesting from the perspective that he is dead, has an enormous brand empire that is protected with numerous copyrights and still has relatives that have inherited his possessions – however his genetic info are still not well protected.
But representatives for Alexander McQueen do not sound happy at all.
A spokesperson for the fashion label said:
Contrary to some press reports the company was not approached about this project nor have we ever endorsed it.
Well, fashion is all about taking risks…