Obviously Fake Product Gets Dutch Design Honor

10.21.13 Andy Cush

Rayfish sneakers are not real. Last year, a Dutch academic created the brand as a media hoax, marketing sneakers made from the skin of custom bioengineered stingrays. Want neon green sneakers with bright orange polka dots? The company would genetically modify an animal to suit your needs, then kill it and use its leather to make you shoes.

The stunt was meant to “catalyze a debate on emerging biotechnologies” and “ our consumptive relationship with animals and products in general.” Rayfish sneakers got straight-faced writeups in The Daily Mail, Co.Designand NBC News.

Now, the shoes–which were admitted to be fake months ago–are shortlisted for an award at Dutch Design Week. The week’s organizers say they were aware of that.

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

“Unfortunately this isn’t made very clear to the visitors,” she added. “We will try to make it more clear to the public that the Rayfish are fake.”