Skip to main content

Bio-Engineering, FrankenFashion & the Future of Leather

Care to buy a piece of Alexander McQueen? No, not a product he designed... an actual piece of Alexander McQueen, himself.
The controversial click-bait is Tina Gorjanc’s effort to create fashion accessories from leather grown from deceased designer Alexander McQueen’s DNA.
The buzzword for the project is, “FrankenFashion,” and it catalyzes discussions regarding moral and legal loopholes which struggle to keep up with technological advances. 

"Fashion That Gets Under the Skin," New York Times, July 20, 2016.
More significant, and potentially game changing, is the applied science of biological engineering for the creation of “real,” “sustainable” leather without harming animals or our environment.
Brooklyn startup, Modern Meadow recently raised $40 million to become a supplier of leather to the fashion and accessories market; handbags, shoes, upholstery and other products.
Modern Meadow CEO and co-founder Andras Forgacs, famous for his TED Talk on the subject (below), explains that "biofabrication" involves the design of cells to produce and assemble collagen and other proteins to yield leather that is “biologically identical” to traditional types.

Originally, Foragacs and his father intended to create biofabricated edible meat, however they met with a formidable "eww"-factor and pivoted to leather products as a "gateway" to their ultimate goal.

Modern Meadow may have left synthetic food products behind, however several other startups are using biological engineering to create real hamburger meat, (one challenge - consumers like their meat to "bleed."), cheese, egg whites, and even human tissue in the lab.
At Stanford, engineers have created a plastic “skin” that can detect how hard it is being pressed and generate an electric signal to deliver this sensory input directly to a living brain cell.
Back to the Hannibal Lecter spectrum, a UK-based company, "Human Leather" claims to create products from human skin bequeathed “prior to the donor’s death.
Crafted for "a small but highly discerning clientele,” the company acknowledges,
“we deal with a raw material that is very precious and hence quite difficult to acquire.”  - Human Leather, UK
(c) David J. Katz, 2016 - New York City

Popular posts from this blog

Discounts, Discovery & Delight: 3Ds for Retail Success

In fashion and retail, Dopamine is the drug of choice. Technically, Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of “desire.” Dopamine leaps across synapses in our brain to control our reward and pleasure centers. It enables craving. It induces repeat behaviors. It makes us want more. Therefore, it is in our best interest to create products and experiences which induce the release of dopamine in our consumers. We could use some dopamine for ourselves, too. In our fashion and retail world, there are three primary stimuli, "3Ds," we can control to deliver hits of dopamine: Discounts, Discovery and Delight.

Taking Tips From a Younger Generation

Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor at The New York Times, visited the garment district in Manhattan to interview designers as part of a story for the newspaper’s Snapchat account. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times
What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty.

How on earth did I become an “older worker?”

It was only a few years ago, it seems, that I set out to climb the ladder in my chosen field. That field happens to be journalism, but it shares many attributes with countless other workplaces. For instance, back when I was one of the youngest people in the room, I was helped by experienced elders who taught me the ropes.

Now, shockingly, I’m one of the elders. And I’ve watched my industry undergo significant change. That’s why I recently went searching for a young mentor — yes, a younger colleague to mentor me.

Beware of Wombats & Other Vampires

You are surrounded by dangerous WOMBATS. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, easy to spot. Other times they are well camouflaged, requiring heightened awareness to identify them. You need to stay alert, it’s important to avoid them. WOMBATs resemble ordinary, productive tasks. However, they are vampires for time and resources, weapons of mass distraction.WOMBATs are seductive. Working on a WOMBAT feels productive.WOMBATs are bad for your career.WOMBATs are bad for your business.WOMBATs infiltrate your work day (and your personal time). Strike them down.WOMBATs may be be ingrained in your company culture: “We’ve always done it that way…” WOMBAT Metamorphosis Alert: A task or project that wasproductive in the pastcanevolve into a WOMBAT in today's environment.Your comfort zone is populated with WOMBATs.More on comfort zones, here.Some people are WOMBATs in disguise. Stay away from them, they are vampire WOMBATs.If you don’t control your WOMBATs, your WOMBATs will…