Rumen leather tops the all-out freak factor coolness list

Every now and again we run across a new material or textile entering the apparel industry marketplace that excites an immediate reaction.  You’ll note we don’t say whether that reaction is positive or negative, just that there’s an immediate reaction.

This is in fact that case with Rumen Leather. We ran across Rumen Leather in our Materia newsletter today.  For those who don’t know what a rumen is, it may be better if you don’t read the next bit.  It’s a cow’s stomach. Moo, yes. Up-cycle a by-product into a product, yes.

Some wizard soul (Mandy den Elzen) in The Netherlands came up with the idea of tanning a cow stomach (and why not, it makes entire sense to us in a weirdly macabre sort of way given that the GI tract of an animal is basically just more skin.) Ignoring where the leather came from (the cow’s stomach) and just looking at it, we confess to being fascinated by the possibilities inherent in leather that has natural papillae all over it.  Forget velvet or fur, this stuff has legs. Well, papillae, actually.

We’re not sure how you’d deal with the ick factor – we also confess to being a bit icked out by the source of the leather itself. But the actual material does look stunning and we could envision a lot of ways it could be effectively used.  And it is unique – we’ve seen a lot of different sorts of leathers in our time. Just about any animal with a skin gets turned into leather sooner or later, from fish to toads to even turkeys, all of which by the way are incredibly cool to work with if you can get past the ick-factor of dealing with what looks like small roadkill.  But rumen leather definitely tops them all for all-out freak factor coolness.

We can imagine designing a new case for our netbook in this stuff.  It would be cushioning and a major conversation piece. “Wow, that’s a cool netbook case, I’ve never seen anything like it…what is that?”….’Cow Stomach.’  OK, so maybe that’s up-cycling a step too far, but we think this material could have real merit.