Talk about skin in the game. Recent Central Saint Martins graduate Tina Gorjanc intends to make “human leather” jackets and bags using skin tissue grown from Alexander McQueen’s DNA, a sample of which she’s already acquired. As you may recall, pieces from his first collection, called Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, came with a lock of his own hair.
Gorjanc maintains the idea isn’t simply the result of morbid curiosity, but a critical exercise concerning genetic ownership. The Pure Human project was envisioned, she told Dezeen, “as a critical design project that aims to address shortcomings concerning the protection of biological information and move the debate forward using current legal structures. 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, we can only imagine what big corporations with bigger funding are going to be capable of doing in the future.”
Though Gorjanc has yet to complete her first human-leather creation, she’s made prototypes out of pig hide (see pics below), filed for a UK patent, and persuaded at least one owner of that debut McQueen collection to give her a specimen of his hair.
Feeling ethically ambivalent? Well, PETA isn’t. The animal-rights group has come out in favor of lab-grown human leather, saying, “If Gorjanc has permission to use the skins — from the estate or otherwise — this is a far better way to create leather bags and jackets than to murder other living beings and steal their hides, simply because you don’t know them or recognize their feelings and pain.”