While it may sound disturbing at first, hair actually has a number of properties which make it perfect for use in yarn: it has a high tensile strength, is thermally insulating, flexible, lightweight, and oil-absorbent. A single human hair can hold up to 100 grams of weight, meaning that an entire head of hair could potentially withstand a whopping 12 tons. This varies, of course, on the health of the person they come from, and there also seems to be ethnic variation when it comes to hair strength. (Fun fact: Asian hair is apparently the strongest.)

human hair, sanne visser, london design fair, waste management, repurposed materials, recycled materials, rope, yarn, human hair products

Related: Studio Swine’s Stylish Eyeglasses are Made of Human Hair

The hair is collected shortly after being cut from its owner, and then spun into 2-ply yarn before it’s woven into ropes. From there, the ropes are transformed into any number of useful items. Unfortunately, the process is limited at the moment to the clippings Visser is able to obtain. In order to put her designs into production on a wider scale, a waste management system would have to be implemented in barbershops and salons to collect the hair so it could be repurposed.

human hair, sanne visser, london design fair, waste management, repurposed materials, recycled materials, rope, yarn, human hair products

Practical challenges aside, it’s an interesting and innovative idea, and we loved the sample products we saw at Designersblock at the London Design Fair last week!

+ Sanne Visser

+ London Design Festival

+ Inhabitat coverage of London Design Festival

Images via Mike Chino and Sanne Visser