Contrary to popular belief, a human head of hair and a woolly coat are similar in that. They are both composed of keratin protein fibres. Which aid in regulating body temperature. A Dutch designer startup is now wondering why one is useless and the other awful.
By using human hairs to create textiles, Human Material Loop seeks to revolutionise the fashion industry. To date, it has produced human hair coat, jumper and blazer prototypes. In the hopes that textile firms will eventually purchase rolls of its substitute material. For use in their own creations.
Zsofia Kollar, a co-founder, says she has always been captivated by the possibility of using hair as cloth. The feelings individuals had for it fascinated her. “How much we care about our hair, but once it’s cut, we are so disgusted by it,” she remarked.
After experiencing an identity crisis as a designer. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, Kollar resolved to address the waste problem in the hair business.
Don’t waste it…
Salons in the US and Canada generate 877 pounds of garbage per minute. In an oxygen-free environment, such as a landfill, the breakdown of hair releases greenhouse gases that fuel global warming.
Human Material Loop reports that each year, 72 million kilogram’s of human hair waste. The weight of seven Eiffel Towers end up in landfills around Europe.
According to Kollar Dutch Designer, knitting a jumper using hair fabric is not all that different from knitting with any other material. To create yarn, short hairs are spun together, made into a continuous thread, and then coloured using pure pigments. She continued by saying that, depending on which is most productive, the corporation may dye the yarn or the fabric as it increases output.
The first prototype created by Human Material Loop was a jumper that felt a lot like wool. “The jumper was one of the most practical prototypes we could make, and it was also the most relatable,” Kollar stated. “I needed to make a product that people can relate to.”
Since then, the company has tested more designs, such as an outdoor garment that is filled with hair to give thermal insulation. During a trip to Aconcagua, Argentina’s highest mountain, the coat was tested in challenging conditions.
Human Material Loop Insulated The Jacket With Hair
The goal is to provide the material for other designers and businesses to work with; these designs are not for sale. Once it reaches a larger production scale, according to Kollar, the pricing should be competitive with wool.
“We are aware that most people are not yet ready to wear human hair on their bodies,” Kollar remarked. But she thinks the public’s acceptance of the idea might grow. According to Kollar, wearing a human hair sweater is about more than just novelty or sustainability—human hair is an exceptionally durable material, after all.
Human Material Loop uses hair that has been chopped or broken off since it says in salons located in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
Human hair has historically been utilised as a textile in numerous cultures. The Kiribati tribe in Micronesia fashioned human hair, coconut fibres, shark teeth, and palm leaves into woven armour, while individuals in the 13th century in what is now the Southwestern United States constructed socks by tying hair strands together.
One of the biggest wooden buildings in the world is the Higashi Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto. Rebuilt in the 19th century, it was damaged by fire and required ropes fashioned from donated human hair from all around Japan blended with hemp.
However, there are drawbacks to utilising hair as a textile, as noted by Sanne Visser, a Dutch material researcher, designer, and maker who is not affiliated with Human Material Loop but an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London.
Human hair is still frowned upon as a material, the speaker stated. “It’s considered waste, especially once it’s cut off; we don’t really value it as a resource.”
Visser created the phrase “hair farming” in her “Locally Grown” project for the Design Museum in London. Working with hairdressers, she imagined a future in which hair becomes a valued resource. She also revamped the barber’s chair to catch chopped hair, which would save the recycler and hairdresser time.
In the end, according to Visser, incorporating human hair into our products isn’t easy. She acknowledged that “there is much more work to be done to get people to accept it as a material,” but she also stated that “I can definitely see it coming more into our daily lives, with time.”