Emilie Burfeind is on the search for alternatives for wasteful resources of apparel and especially sneaker materials and the manufacturing process. For her ‘Sneature’ [‘sneaker’ and ‘nature’] project the German designer has found one: dog hair.
Dog hair is the main fiber used for the Sneature
The result is a sock sneaker with a knitted upper made from canine hair that was crowdsourced from dog owners by Berlin start-up Modus Intarsia. The hair is spun into a yarn known as Chiengora, which was historically used by indigenous societies on America’s West Coast.
To create the upper Burfeind used 3D knitting technology, which also allows production on demand.
The sole is made of mushroom mycelium mixed with hemp cellulose and organic waste products. To add a water-repellent layer, the designer used liquid natural rubber to coat the underside of the sneaker.
The Sneature consists of three main materials only.
The Sneature concept includes the development of a material cycle with the three bio-based materials: At the end of its life, the biodegradable Sneature can either go through a recycling process or become compost.
Sneature product and material cycle
"Sneakers are also among the clothing products that are often discarded after a short lifespan. The complicated construction and the use of different materials (rubber, textile, various plastics, etc.) make it almost impossible and unprofitable to disassemble and recycle a pair of trainers after use,” Burfeind explains the motivation behind the project, that was created as part of Burfeind's studies at the Offenbach University of Art and Design, from which she graduated last year.