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Bio-Customized Sneakers by Rayfish

"Fake" product shortlisted for Dutch Design Awards

News: a product suspected of being a hoax made by a non-existent company has been shortlisted for a major award at Dutch Design Week.

Bio-Customised Sneakers by Rayfish, which purport to be made of customisable, bio-engineered stingray skin, were part of the Nano Supermarket project shortlisted for the Future Concept prize at the Dutch Design Awards in Eindhoven last week.

However when the product was launched last year it was widely regarded as being fake. Utah State University biologist Randy Lewis said at the time: "To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to do what they claim."

Rayfish claim that customers could create their own bespoke coloured pattern, and then scientists would breed a genetically modified stingrays with the pattern on their skin. "The ability to completely control the pattern that they imply has not been achieved for any animal," said Lewis.

An example of the sneakers is on show at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven this week, but the pattern on the shoe appears to be painted on, rather than created by genetically modifying the stingray.

Bio-Customised Sneakers by Rayfish
Bio-Customised Sneakers by Rayfish

A spokesperson from Dutch Design Week said the award organisers were aware of doubts about the veracity of the product.

"My colleagues form Dutch Design Awards have informed me that they are aware of the fact that the Rayfish are indeed fake," said Heidi van Heumen of Dutch Design Week. "They are presented at the expo to make the visitors aware of what might be possible in the (nearby) future."

She added: "Unfortunately this isn't made very clear to the visitors. We will try to make it more clear to the public that the Rayfish are fake."

The shoes are on show as part of the Nano Supermarket, a mobile store presenting speculative nanotech products that may hit the shelves within the next ten years.

It was one of six entries shortlisted for the Future Concepts prize, which was won by a project examining the impact on the world if people were just 50 centimetres tall called The Incredible Shrinking Man.

The Dutch Design Awards are an annual celebration of work by designers in the Netherlands that takes place during Dutch Design Week, and is organised by design platform Capital D.

The overall winner of the Golden Eye for design of the year at the awards went to Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen's Voltage collection, which includes 3D-printed garments.