A 55-year-old woman from Manchester, England recently reached out to Sewport, a service that connects customers with clothing manufacturers, to find a bag designer who would make her a handbag.
A handbag out of her amputated leg.
The woman emailed the service explaining that she is most likely losing her leg to amputation because of peripheral arterial disease.
She went on to discuss the "human waste scandal" where body parts are simply discarded and forgotten. She didn't want her leg to meet this fate, so she came up with a creative alternative.
Sewport posted a screenshot of the inquiry letter.
Realizing how strange her request sounded, they defended her before people proceeded.
"Before you say 'ew gross!', we've spoken with the woman and her reasoning behind it is actually understandable and very personal."
"We thought who are we judge? The designer in question is desperate and struggling to find a professional who can help her, we've helped mock up designs so all we need is someone who has worked with animal skin like leather, and is willing to treat a small amount of human skin and use it to make a handbag."
They went on to share her letter.
The woman's request stated:
"I'm a 55 year old woman from Manchester and I'm hoping you can help me."
"It's looking very likely that I'm going to have my lower left leg amputated soon (I have peripheral arterial disease) and I was reading about the human waste scandal where they just dumped body parts in a dump to rot and I don't want that to happen to me."
"I was chatting to a friend about leather and how it's essentially just treated animal skin and I had a lightbulb moment – can I use my amputated leg to create something beautiful and useful?"
"I'm finding out whether I can keep my leg after the surgery and the discussions have been positive so far, so fingers crossed!"
She went on to explain why she was inquiring into their service.
"If I do get to keep my leg, I'd like to have a professional already lined up to make it into a handbag. I'm thinking a medium sized bag with a short strap and a section down the middle that will be made with my skin and the rest will be made with another material, which can be confirmed later I guess."
"To demonstrate how I envision the handbag, I've done a drawing of it that's attached. I think a handbag is the most logical route to go down, it's basically the same as a leather handbag but this one is with my skin, it belongs to me so why not?"
"From my own research the person making this handbag will need to know how to preserve skin like with animal/leather products."
She also covered the financial aspect of the project.
"I have £3,000 set aside for this, which I hope is enough. If it's not I can be flexible, but I can't spend a fortune on this unfortunately."
Last, she was sure to own up to the fact that her request was far from ordinary.
"I know it's a bit odd and gross, and some might think I'm crazy, but it's my leg, and I can't bare the thought of it being left to rot somewhere. It's part of me and I want to keep it."
"More than happy for you to pass this onto your manufacturers, but would you mind keeping my full name private please? My family aren't exactly happy about my idea to do this."
Sewport also provided their mockup of what they believe Joan's bag could look like.
Despite the sentiment behind it, people can't help but be grossed out by Joan's request.
The Twitter post says:
"Here one Madame from Manchester is looking for a freelancer to make her a leather bag ... from her own amputated leg. It. Highly. Strange. News. Does anybody want?"
Others don't really see the issue.
Not sure it's the route I'd go, but I hope a manufacturer extends a helping... uh, leg... to this woman.