The design team Studio Trippin consists of two IUA alumni, fashion designer Kristín Karlsdóttir and product designer Valdís Steinarsdóttir. They focus on designing various goods, ranging from clothing to furniture, using Icelandic winter horsehides. Last summer the project was funded by the Icelandic Student Innovation Fund and was subsequently nominated for the Icelandic Presidential Innovation Award 2018. This article is adapted from a text by Valdís and Kristín, discussing the project.
 
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The Icelandic Horsehide
In Iceland, people have a controversial relationship with horses, they are both loved as pets and eaten as food. However, horses are not factory farmed in Iceland but mostly bred as pets. Therefore, they are well cared for in their life. 
 
The Icelandic horse gets a thick fur over the winter time and although horsehides are suitable for both leather and fur production these are rarely utilised or tanned in Iceland but mostly considered a byproduct. Instead of disposing of horsehides Studio Trippin suggest that we consider the horsehides as an untapped source of fantastic, versatile material that makes for a good alternative fur.  
 
 
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The Controversy of Fur
Fur is a controversial topic and the fur industry has been rightfully criticized for mistreating animals farmed for the purpose of making fur. Faux fur has been considered a good alternative to rival the fur industry but the truth is that it pollutes as it is made out of plastic.
           
This is why Studio Trippin decided to explore the various traditional and untraditional ways in which they can utilise horsehides in design. Horsehides are usually considered an impractical material because they have an uneven thickness. From the beginning the designers set out to take advantage of this quality of the material in their design. Some parts of the hide, especially around the rump of the horse are quite thick. In virtue of this property these parts of the fur can be used to provide stiffness for clothing instead of using interlining or, e.g in jacket collars. Studio Trippin has also been developing a method of colouring the fur with natural, non-polluting methods.
 
Horsehides from the Icelandic horse are a great alternative to other leathers and particularly furs, as Icelandic horses are not subjected to factory farming as many other animals are. It is, therefore, a great material choice for people who take an interest in animal welfare.

 

 
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