Italian materials brand Vegea Vegetal Leather received this year’s H&M Global Change Award for its innovative “wineleather” product. The idea for wineleather comes from Vegea’s desire to simultaneously redefine Italy’s two globally recognized industries: wine and leather. The company uses grape solids left over from the wine industry to create their “vegetal” leathers as an eco-friendly and cruelty-free alternative to animal skins. The company aims to use the byproducts from the 6.8 billion gallons of wine produced worldwide each year to create 15.4 billion pounds of “marc” (or raw materials) that Vegea says can be transformed into nearly 33 billion square feet of wineleather every year with the objective of producing cruelty-free fabrics suitable for replacing leather in the fashion, furniture, and automotive industries. Spanish company Piñatex has a similar goal but with the use of pineapple-based leather—a material that mimic animal skins but currently sells for a fraction of the price.
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