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A bag from Tina Gorjanc’s ‘Pure Human’ collection
A prototype made of pigskin from Tina Gorjanc’s ‘Pure Human’

PETA thinks making bags out of lab-grown McQueen skin is OK

The animal rights organisation comes out in favour of Tina Gorjanc’s idea to make a range of leather goods using skin grown from Alexander McQueen’s DNA

Last week, Central Saint Martins graduate Tina Gorjanc made the headlines for rather unusual reason: planning to make a collection of leather goods using skin grown from late designer Alexander McQueen’s DNA. 

While the ‘Pure Human’ project is still in the planning stages, Gorjanc has sourced McQueen’s DNA (from his first collection, the labels of which comprise of a single lock of his hair suspended within a clear plastic pocket). She intends to use this to grow skin tissue, which she’ll then tan and turn into “human leather”.

Naturally, this is a bit of an ethical minefield and raises a host of questions surrounding the ownership of peoples’ ‘biological information’ – in fact, The Guardian called Gonjanc’s plan a “crime”. But in spite of its moral ambiguity, animal rights organisation PETA has come out in favour of her project, saying that meat and skins grown in laboratories is the future.

“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 recognise their feelings and pain,” says Mimi Bekhechi, director of the PETA Foundation.

“Why humans want to wear or use animal skins in the 21st century, as if they were still deprived cavepeople, is a mystery and shows ignorance, arrogance, and a lack of imagination. Gorjanc’s idea would at least make buying leather items ethical, as she didn’t kill to obtain the skins. The future holds lab-grown meat, skins, and more.”

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