It’s no secret that in the fashion industry, certain looks appear fresh one minute only to seem stale as week-old bread the next. In an attempt to stay abreast of rapidly shifting trends, some designers are going to extreme lengths, and for Tina Gorjanc, that means growing leather from human DNA.
Though Gorjanc’s designer jackets won’t be sourced from just any human DNA—they’ll be reproductions of Alexander McQueen’s very essence. Dubbed “Pure Human,” the project will use McQueen’s actual DNA to grow human skin that will then be tanned and conditioned to create clothes and accessories. But unlike your typical batch of animal leather, the human-made variety is susceptible to sunburn, allowing for strangely unique pieces.
On her website, Gorjanc describes the collection as “a critical design project that aims to address shortcomings concerning the protection of biological information and move the debate forward using current legal structure.” Having gone to the same school as McQueen, Gorjanc claimed the runner-up creative talent award for her graduate collection by using pig skin to demonstrate the proposed process.
But how was Gorjanc able to get her hands on Alexander McQueen’s genetic code for the real deal? Seeing as the ingenious designer died in 2010, that might seem like no easy task. Luckily, McQueen, never to be intimidated by the futuristic or macabre, sewed locks of his own hair into the labels of his Victorian-inspired garments for his own graduate collection at St. Martin’s in London, giving Gorjanc all the information needed to generate new skin.
And with McQueen’s representatives on board with Pure Human, it looks like we might be wearing human skin sooner than you’d think. Incorporating McQueen’s tattoos and even his freckles into the textiles will make these garments some of the most personal yet. And if you think that’s weird, don’t forget people have been using human DNA in jewelry and art for millennia. From ancient Greeks adorning marble sculptures with human teeth and hair to diamonds made from compacted ashes, there’s no limit to the ways we can repurpose our bodies once we no longer need them for ourselves. Just don’t tell Buffalo Bill that.
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