Improving on Nature to Save Nature
Can man improve on nature, and in the process help save nature?
That was the question Ghabrial set out to answer in his contribution to Design Against Fur, an annual UK design competition to spread awareness of the unnecessary fur trade.
The cruel global trade in exotic animal skins, in part fueled by the fashion industry, inspired Ghabrial to harness the natural beauty of snakeskin using ethical materials –and then use innovation to improve upon it.
But how to improve on nature?
True to his relentless quest to innovate new textures and surfaces, Ghabrial conceived new characteristics not found in natural snakeskin but useful and appealing to humans.
Combining and layering several synthetic materials, then carefully applying laser cutting and a special surface finish, Ghabrial created a previously unknown composite fabric with special traits above and beyond snakeskin. These included a stretch behavior that transforms the fabric from 2D to 3D, a programmable surface pattern (snakeskin or any other animal), and a pearlescent reflective sheen that inter-plays with natural light during body movement. Nature. Enhanced.
The result: a unique and unprecedented material that emulates snakeskin yet improves beyond it with unique visual stimuli and stretch/flex characteristics to enchant both the wearer and observer, and in so doing draw interest from designers and consumers away from natural snakeskin.
Ghabrial hopes to inspire other designers to pursue their own innovative and contemporary approaches, helping to extinguish the primitive practice of skinning vulnerable animals for human gratification.
Ghabrial’s Design Against Fur faux snakeskin twin set was part of the HyperNatureSuperHuman collection. It was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design, as part of an exhibition celebrating wearable art.