Clothes and Fashion Items Made from Human Skin?

Tina Gorjanc, a wildly ambitious student at Central Saint Martins in London, has proposed a rather odd fashion design idea: to use lab-grown human skin as fabric. Which is, admittedly, better than using synthetic human skin. And it’s not just any human skin either; using Alexander McQueen‘s DNA, Gorjanc is building a replica of the late iconic designer’s skin, which she will then use as the material for her collection, Pure Human. Apparently, with this collection—which is her final project with the two-year CSM master’s course MA Material Futures—the London design student is attempting to “address shortcomings concerning the protection of biological information.”

From Tina Gorjanc’s project ‘Body Spam.’

At this point, you’re probably wondering how Gorjanc plans to get her hands on McQueen’s DNA. But before you chalk it up to “grave digging,” remember that McQueen attached a lock of his hair to every piece of his first collection, “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims.” It was from a piece in this collection that Gorjanc was able to procure a lock of his hair. After extracting genetic material from said hair, she was able to harvest the cells into skin tissue, and then tan the material to produce “human leather.” If you’re not already covered in goosebumps, then you probably need to think about your life choices.

And if that weren’t enough, in May, Gorjanc filed a patent application to use McQueen’s genetic information with her technical processes, potentially making Alexander McQueen leather her own. “If a student like me was able to patent a material extracted from Alexander McQueen’s biological information as there was no legislation to stop me,” Gorjanc said, “we can only imagine what big corporations with bigger funding are going to be capable of doing in the future.”
For Pure Human, Gorjanc plans to make backpacks, bags, and jackets. She’s already made a few prototypes from pig skin, which she embellished with decorative freckle designs in order to give them a real flesh feeling.

While it certainly pushes the limits of fashion, this project isn’t the first time Gorjanc has played with human skin. In a previous project entitled Body Spam, the Londoner incorporated synthetic bacterial systems, the logos of popular brands, and a horror movie villain attitude into surreal works. The synthetic materials were created as an implant on one’s skin using plaster, silicone, and body paint to look like a Chanel logo was rising from under the skin. The final product doesn’t actually break the skin, but the result looks realistic enough to make you do a double take—and question humanity.


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