Italian designer creates vegan ‘leather’ from wine byproducts
An Italian designer has combined the worlds of high fashion and wine with a love of the planet, creating a vegan-friendly “leather” made from the byproducts of winemaking.
The vegan leatherette, known as Wineleather, has been made by Italian designer Vegea from the leftover solids of winemaking, known as pomace or marc, which is made up of the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit after pressing.
Vegea was founded in January 2016 by Gianpiero Tessitore, an architect based out of Milan. In 2014 he began researching the potential of a vegan ‘leather’ made from the by products of winemaking, calling on the help of a specialist researchers to determine the physical and mechanical properties of various plant fibers, and their ability to be transformed into eco-friendly materials.
According to Vegea, its team has devised an innovative way of converting the fibers and vegetal oils found in pomace into an eco-friendly material, making use of a product that would otherwise go to waste.
“Our objective is to satisfy the increasing demand for green and cruelty-free products,” it said. “Globally, 26 billions litres of wine are produced every year. From this production process we can derive almost 7 billion kilograms of grape marc, to be transformed into a high value added raw material and potentially produce three billion square meters of Wineleather, every year.”
The production process was patented in June 2016. Today, Italy is the largest producer of wine, producing around 18% of the world’s wine, making it an ideal base for Wineleather.