Japanese Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate Yurii Kasao has developed a material derived from jellyfish that could offer an alternative to leather for fashion accessories.
Due to global warming and ecosystem imbalances caused by overfishing and ocean acidification, jellyfish numbers are proliferating. This is widely reported to be having a negative effect on East Asia’s fishing industry. The solution so far consists of collecting or shredding the jellyfish – resulting in a huge waste of potential material.
Kasao’s jellyfish leather offers a solution to controlling jellyfish numbers and avoiding the environmental damage caused by the toxic process of leather production, which involves large quantities of hazardous chemicals. All the materials used in the production process are organic and biodegradable. The sustainable material can also be cut, sewn and moulded in the same way as cow skin, and could be applied to a large number of design products.
Engineered solutions for skin processes and new resources are driving innovations in leather, offering a wider material palette and aesthetic for the design industry. Recently, luxury British womenswear brand Rose & Willard launched a new ethical collection trimmed with fish leather. For further inspiration around leather alternatives, see our report Harnessing Leather.
Major breakthroughs in biomaterials are also seen emerging from nascent research into sea creatures. See our report Marine Materials for more insights.