I love the parable where Jesus at the wedding of Cana, turned water into wine. Imagine if Jesus turned up at my vineyard here in Tuscany? And turned my wine grapes into vegan leather? A company called Vegea has just done that in Milan, Italy. Welcome to the holy grail of a Grape Leather.
These by-products of the wine industry, grapes usually go to waste, but Vegea has found a way to turn it into a leather-like fiber.
Vegea innovation to real leather by using plant-based food. Is why this disruptive marketing for real leather, is a global first. They named themselves “Vegea” because combining “Veg” from “vegan” and “gea” for “mother earth”. is their way to express one’s commitment to an environmentally conscious future.
Global Synthetic Leather Market
The global synthetic leather market is currently valued at $25 billion, it is projected to reach $45 billion by 2025. Fashion houses are intensively searching for a viable, animal-free leather alternative satisfying the demands of their clientele. The biggest challenge is creating leather-like properties of the original in terms of how vegan leather feels, looks and how it matches the durability like animal leather.
With so many people going vegetarian and vegan with their food, humans are looking for a way to cut cows out of their wardrobe. In the past, the lack of knowledge and research into the many great leather alternatives is why fashion and the car industry are places to experiment regarding leather alternatives.
I reviewed the Telsa Model 3 and the vegan leather interior car seats felt amazing. I thought it was velvet? That is my leather jacket made here in Tuscany on the seat.
Grapes Into Leather
The Vegea company by using fruit from the skins, stalks, and seeds of grapes has turned it into a leather-like fiber. This patent-pending technology will be used to turn nearly 14 billion pounds of grape marc into a cruelty-free leather alternative. It can be used for everything from accessories to furniture.
The eco- message is after drying, the grape marc it undergoes chemical treatment, compounding, and finishing. Unlike the production of animal leather. It uses no polluting chemicals or heavy metals and uses very little additional water. Could this revolutionary tech that is cruelty-free and eco-friendly be in higher demand than animal-based leathers?
Who is going to argue that vegan leather is a better method for the animals, as well as our planet?
Two years ago I teamed up with a designer in Siena, Le Maniglie dell’Amore. These handpainted handbags are all made with vegan leather. They feel and look beautiful.
Other alternatives to making leather is using fruit or fruitleather. such as cactus, pineapple leather, pineapple leaves, and other recycled sources. Instead of cutting down trees, you are cutting pineapples.
I will be honest I am a gonna be a hard person to convert, especially when it comes to car leather seats. But I did drive this Bentley that used the grape leather to line the interior of its 100th-anniversary car. It was made out of this extraordinary mushroom that was made to mimic the texture of leather made from animals. This MuSkin is the new vegan leather on the block. The mushroom caps are tanned with nontoxic ingredients and chemicals, unlike leather made from the skin of cows or other animals.
Cup Of Kombucha Tea Leather
I am all for climate change solutions and combining vegan products with wool. But never in my wildest dream, I would ever think kombucha tea could be turned into vegan leather. Tea leather researchers at Iowa State University have been using kombucha tea to make vegan leather. To make it, they used tea cellulose fibres that were brewed in a vat and fed with vinegar and sugar. Where did I get my leather heel boots from?
The hides used for making my shoe soles is actually not leather goods but from kombucha tea.
This is why the leather industry has no choice but to support the vegan leather alternatives. The environmental impact of making leather is too high now, regarding animal hide. People just don’t want animals killed all in the name of fashion and car accessories.
I visited the Chouara tannery during a trip to Fes in Morocco. Seeing people within these stone pits slaving away in chemicals making the leather ready for production made me feel sick to the core.
I was experiencing people cruelty all in the name of leather fashion.
Health-wise their life expectancy must be short? The stone pits you can see in the photos are filled with different chemicals. The white pits at the back are where they cure the leather, and the brown pits at the front are filled with different coloured dyes.
So using vegetables or many fantastic vegan leather alternatives such as cork, upcycled rubber, apple leather, or even combining the fruits together in something called Fruitleather. is why tannery alongside plus lab-grown leather is the preferred marketing option.
I bid the question why do ethical and sustainable fashion brands still use real leather?
Biomass – Circular Economy
This innovative company Vegea is already looking beyond its wine leather invention too. It’s backed by sponsorship from the EU, they have returned to the lab experimenting with sustainable ways of transforming agricultural biomass waste into other useful products. This is all about bringing products back into the value chain. This is called a circular economy which will just get bigger and bigger due to the preservation of our earth.