Not only are the finished looks sustainable in that they feature only natural materials, but they also add value to previously underutilized resources. In the Faroe Islands, 70 to 80 percent of the economy stems from ocean products, so biomaterials like skin exist in abundance.
"In the end, the event was not a fashion event; it was a fish development event. The main aim of it was to develop our maritime sector in the North Atlantic area and prolong the marine value change into a fashion value chain," Jákup Sørensen, senior advisor at NORA and manager of The Blue Fashion Challenge, told mbg.
With this competition, NORA hopes to prove that ocean by-products can be used in a plethora of ways, especially as the demand for textiles continues to rise. And while wearing fish and sealskin products may not be so appealing to an animal lover, it's important to note that these creatures are never killed for their skin, and as it stands, now these skins are used as cheap fodder or discarded entirely.
"Our hope is this was the first small way to make these materials more mainstream," explains Sørensen. When asked about next steps, he said that it was time to take the resulting garments on the road as proof of concept. "The outfits and photos will go on a world tour, and NORA members will visit embassies to give a presentation about the possibilities."
He sees enormous potential for seaweed fashions in particular, envisioning vast seaweed farms replacing cotton ones. This challenge speaks to the fact that different regions need to tailor their sustainable efforts based on the natural resources they have in abundance. More than anything, though, it's a testament to human ingenuity sparking change from the ground (or ocean floor) up.
Think a seaweed dress is crazy? Check out these runway gowns made from kombucha.