Working Responsibly And Collaboratively With Leather And Biomaterials

Working Responsibly And Collaboratively With Leather And Biomaterials

Stephanie Steele Sunday, 1 November 2020

In our August 2020 panel discussion, we were joined by two material researchers and multi-disciplinary designers to talk about leather, biomaterials, and sustainable accessories. Covered in this talk was Alice Robinson's fascinating work on zero waste farm-to-fashion leather production and the opportunities for biomaterials across various industries with Materiom's Zoe Powell.

About our speakers

Alice Robinson is a multi-disciplinary designer, maker and researcher who created a zero-waste supply chain from animal to food to accessories through her Royal College of Art graduate collection 'Sheep 11458' and subsequent project, 'Bullock 374' that was shown as part of the V&A Museum's 2019 exhibition, Food: Bigger Than the Plate. Check out her work here.

Zoe Powell is a material researcher working, for the last 10 years, on facilitating projects in a variety of industries, with a focus on the reduction of waste through circular and creative resource use. Zoe works at Materiom, an open-source recipe and data platform that works with materials made from abundant sources of natural ingredients.

**Please be aware that the video and key takeaways contain descriptions of processes within the leather and meat industries.**

In this video you'll learn:

  • The backstory to Alice Robinson's research project, Bullock 374, that featured in the V&A Museum's 2019 exhibition, 'Food: Bigger than the Plate'
  • About reducing waste in leather hide processing and viewing hides as a co-product of the meat industry, and vice versa
  • What constitutes a biomaterial and when leather cannot be classed as such
  • How data and technology can be used to create a more responsible leather industry
  • How designers can help shape the development of biomaterials, including leather 

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Next Lesson

  • The Arguments For A Climate-Positive UK Sheepskin Industry

    with Mark Raymond

    Mark Raymond, owner of Organic Sheepskins and UK sheep farmer at Neville Farm, joins us to explain how he came to own this certified organic farm and run a certified organic tanning process producing sheepskin rugs and products for wide-ranging clients.

    We dive straight away into the state of sheep farming in the UK, with insight into the high animal welfare standards and traceability of these byproduct fleeces. The farm is also 'carbon positive', and Mark explains what regenerative agriculture is for his farm, and the case for it being possible to help combat climate change. We also controversially look at veganism, and the affect of this lifestyle/ethical choice on production and marketing of leather alternatives, along with arguments for plant-based people being open to witnessing how Organic Sheepskins are benefitting the system.

    This is a two part lesson: in part two, you can discover what the organic tanning process actually is, what makes it certifiably organic, and pricing structure for such products. These two lessons should give you a fresh and unique perspective on a side of the industry that is usually behind closed doors.

        **Please be aware that the video and key takeaways contain descriptions of processes within the leather and meat industries.**