When the fashion designer Alexander McQueen sewed locks of his hair into his 1992 show “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims,” it probably never crossed his mind that he was giving some scientifically oriented person in the future a way to generate human tissue with his own genetic material.
But the year is now 2016, and that’s exactly what student Tina Gorjanc is doing—and she’s doing it, remarkably, as a way of emulating McQueen himself, by making clothes out of skin grown from McQueen’s DNA.
McQueen, one of the most arresting and experimental fashion designers of our time, committed suicide in 2010; the next year, Savage Beauty, a retrospective of his creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art curated by Andrew Bolton, was by far the most talked about show of 2011, causing patrons to wait for hours in lengthy lines stretching around the block.
As part of her “Pure Human” project, Gorjanc, a student at London’s Central Saint Martins art school, is sourcing the iconic designer’s DNA from the locks of his own hair that were incorporated into his first collection inspired by Jack the Ripper. She has already filed a patent on it after convincing the owner of the collection to give her some of McQueen’s genetic material.
We’re still a ways away from actual objects made out of skin with McQueen’s DNA. Gorjanc’s designs at Central Saint Martins’ end-of-year show were speculative designs using pig skin offcuts, chosen for their resemblance to human skin, and with layers of colour and silicon applied to the surface of the leather to enhance the similarity.
However, the plan is for Gorjanc harvesting McQueen’s DNA into skin tissue, which will then be tanned and turned into human leather.
Gorjanc gave the following comment to Dezeen Magazine:
The Pure Human project was designed 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.
Hey, it might be creepy, but at least she didn’t resort to the collection methods used by fashion desinger Jame Gumb in Thomas Harris’ novel The Silence of the Lambs......
Much more after the jump…....