NO BOUNDARIES: Alexander McQueen has spoken up about a story that’s been making the rounds in the British press for the past few days. Last Friday, The Telegraph ran a story about a Central Saint Martins art student who has submitted plans for a project that involves harvesting the late Lee Alexander McQueen’s DNA, and using it to grow skin in a laboratory to be used for a one-off handbag.
Tina Gorjanc used one of McQueen’s own hairs, culled from the labels of his first collection, to create test samples of the skin in a Petri dish. The Slovenian student told The Telegraph last Friday: “The project is about how our biological information isn’t protected…because of those loopholes, we are able to extract genetic information from a human source…and then produce something out of it and then patent it, which is an interesting concept.”
She submitted the proposal as part of her graduate project in June, and specified that the handbag should be used for display in a museum rather than for commercial purposes.
She told The Telegraph she chose McQueen because he was so famous, and she wanted to make the point that everyone is potentially vulnerable to having their genetic material replicated and patented by strangers.
On Tuesday, she told WWD the process of harvesting DNA to create enough skin for a bag is still a long way off: “I am not growing Alexander McQueen’s skin. The tests that were made in the laboratory were purely intended to for me to understand the technology, and to see how far I can exploit it. This technology still has a long way to go, and big corporations with a better equipped laboratory have a better chance of developing it further.”
In a separate interview with The Times of London on Tuesday, Gorjanc suggested that McQueen’s company had given her project its blessing. It has not. “Contrary to some press reports, the company wasn’t approached about this project, nor have we ever endorsed it,” a spokesperson for McQueen told WWD.