Li Lei is a designer and tanner from China, who is committed to further develop in fashion supply chain. His practice advocates a rethinking of the eco-friendly systems within fashion, by reusing the refuse that commonly people ignore their value. Li's project focuses on the craftsmanship of production and provides assistance in exploring more possibilities for the fashion industry.
As a leather tanner, Li aims to give new value to items that society tends to overlook and undervalue. He began studying the tanning methods for fish skins to breathe new life into these discarded fish skins that are often treated as garbage. He envisions turning locally available fish waste in the UK into sustainable and eco-friendly leather products.
Locality plays a significant role in his project. It is common to see fish being skinned at local fish markets in London, with discarded fish skins, scales, and fins mostly ending up in the trash. These seemingly worthless waste materials have become the main focus of his research this year.
He looks forward to collaborating with crafters and leatherworkers in the future. Fish skins, as well as other animal leathers, have different structural properties, offering vast potential7 for development in terms of their possibilities and value. Exploring directions such as waterproofing, acid resistance, and heat resistance of fish skins can continue to be explored.
His research on bio-material experiments is essential for designers. Practice-based design allows him to incorporate sustainability thinking and a sense of social responsibility into his work through step-by-step experimentation processes.