In a more creative and slightly Frankenstein-esque approach to textile design, a recent graduate from Central Saint Martins has constructed a line of leather goods inspired by the late Alexander McQueen’s skin.
According to Allure, designer Tina Gorjanc’s project — appropriately named Pure Human — mixes biotech and fashion in a rather interesting way. In an effort to explore de-extinction, which is a process where literally anybody can extract genetic information and use it to biologically program an already-existing skin graft, Gorjanc has created a line of skin-colored leather jackets, bags and more with freckles, moles and tattoos that mirror McQueen’s.
To take her thesis one step further, the designer even applied for a patent to access the designer’s genetic information, which hypothetically, if granted, would allow her the go-ahead to make laboratory grown leather from his skin.
Being honest, the first, gut-reaction to the project is horror and disgust. Creating a jacket out of human skin sounds like something that Hannibal Lecter would do, not a design student from one of the world’s most prestigious fashion schools.
However, apart from the shock factor of Pure Human, the result of Gorjanc’s efforts are both a commentary on exploiting biological information as well as a testament to McQueen himself, who experimented with genetics when he used his own hair in his 1992 graduate project.
The uncomfortable feeling one is greeted with when viewing the Alexander McQueen-inspired pieces makes you face the relationship between technology and fashion head on. Just like a number of industries, as technological capabilities continue to expand, we’re faced with the difficult decisions of pursuing scientific growth or reevaluating our ethics. Just because we’re able to replicate McQueen’s exact skin, should we? And, on top of that, should we capitalize on it?
For all I know, McQueen may have been all about the project (you know the guy had some wild ideas), but Pure Human somewhat begs the question of whether or not anybody should be able to access his genetics and use it to interpret his artistic philosophies posthumously. Needless to say, as we as a society continue to come up with crazy cool technologies, we need to identify and set boundaries for ourselves as to what is, like, a little too much, and what is actually innovative.
Header image: Quartz
What do you think of the Pure Human project? Do you think its ethical to access another person’s genetic information? Let us know in the comment section!