Best Before is the New Sustainable
Designer Shahar Asor knits children’s shoes with an expiration date using a new biodegradable thread that can disintegrate at a pre-defined timeframe.
Best Before is a material research project by Shahar Asor, a final year graduate student of Industrial Design at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem that is currently ongoing development touches that is a take-off on the concept of expiration date in the fashion industry, bridging the contradiction between the long ‘shelf life’ of a garment, and consumerism exhibited by the shoppers egged on by brands to keep buying newer versions of apparels.
Shahar, who worked in collaboration with Professor Oded Shoseyov from the faculty of agriculture, food, and environment at the Hebrew University, has genuine reasoning for the need for the project. The product is an answer to the “need” for certain clothes for a short duration, like maternity dresses or children’s clothes, both of which will be outgrown after a certain duration. But the sad part is that none of these clothes are degradable, staying on longer at landfills. It is the biodegradable nature of the new garment that Shahar is researching on that gets all attention.
“Fashion has the power to promote us, be our voice and distinct us from others, but sometimes we buy new clothes simply because we objectively need to- as in the case of maternity or children’s clothes. So, if a garment is being used for a limited period of time why does it stay on earth for so long? Why not design it with its end of use moment in mind?” asks Shahar.
Shahar was inspired by the process in which we consume groceries and he wanted to follow the same concept while buying clothes, “by going as per our objective needs and taking into account the expiration date of the product”, he says.
“We created a knit based, biodegradable composite material that has the potential to disassemble at a pre-defined timeframe. With further research, I found the material produces different textures under specific conditions. This way I was able to knit soft textile and strong flexible surfaces all in the same swatch,” explains Shahar.
Keeping the consumer in mind, these children’s shoes are conceptually designed to disassemble in the washing machine within a pre-defined time frame, taking into account consumption habits and children’s growth curves.
And the best part of the material is that after it dissolves it safely biodegrades, leaving no harmful effect on the environment.