The paper "A Virtual Ainu fish skin workshop during Covid-19 times" was presented in October 2021 at the Global Fashion Conference 2021 in Warsaw by our researchers Orit Freilich (Shenkar) and Elisa Palomino (UAL) together with Isaac Reine (UAL).
From April to June 2020, during the Covid-19 isolation, Ran Graber, a third-year student of Shenkar University, Tel Aviv, elected to study and remake a 19th century fish skin attush (Ainu robe), under the guidance of Elisa Palomino, Orit Freilich, Ran Kassas and Debbie Elhayeni, as part of the F4*3D course. This small project of individuals – one student, one course, one study, one sample – nevertheless brought together workwear and artwear, utilitarianism and spirituality, ancient tradition/history, contemporary society, and future thinking. It bought together Tel Aviv, London, and Hokkaido – as well as all of you here now, from across the globe.
By disseminating the ancient Indigenous Ainu fish skin craft – as exemplified in this robe – to a non-Indigenous student, we were able not only to provide an example of an environmentally sustainable alternative material for fashion, but also, in so doing, to suggest a way of preventing marine pollution by exploiting skins discarded by the food industry that would otherwise be thrown in the sea. We were able to sustain an endangered historic tradition, to bring it to a new arena, and to plant the seeds of its further dissemination as the fashion students graduate and become industry professionals across the world.
The paper is centred on the research questions:
‘How can we assist fashion students in developing sustainable materials by sharing traditional fish skin craft from Ainu Indigenous Peoples?'
‘How can a faculty provide creative new ways of teaching that benefit both staff and students during difficult times?'
FISHSkin researchers took part in The Earth, Water, Air and Fire: The Four Elements of Fashion international conference, organised by Universita luav di Venezia, March 2023.
In the Materials session, Ori Topaz from SHENKAR shared her research ‘Printing on Fish Skins. Design Strategies for New Material Implementation’ – work done in collaboration with the researchers Dr. Ira Farber and Lahav Langboim from FISHSkin's partner Kornit Digital. Ori explored the use of different patterns and prints as a unifying element in the use of fish skins - a material that naturally comes in rather small pieces of different irregular shapes, a challenging characteristics when uniting it into one harmonic piece. Chemistry and application adjustments were made by Kornit Digital to adapt to the specific requirements of the fish skin substrate.
Shenkar college - Dr. tal Goldarth
Shenkar's FISHSkin researcher Dr. Tal Goldrath took part in the COP27 - 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Held in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Tal was representing Shenkar college as part of the Israel's council for Higher Education delegation.
Tal took part in discussions and events concerning water and energy, and discussed current and future challenges with delegates and representatives from academia, regulation and industry from around the world.
In her work in Shenkar, Tal is fully engaged in research and activities promoting GHG emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change.