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Ganni to phase out use of animal hides in favour of plant-based alternatives

Lauretta Roberts
25 October 2021

Danish contemporary brand Ganni is aiming to eliminate the use of animal-based leather in 2023 in favour of plant-based alternatives and has set the wheels in motion by unveiling a new footwear collection made from grape leather, Vegea.

The eight styles of footwear form part of the brand's SS22 collection and include chunky loafers, slides and flip flops all made from the innovative material. Vegea is created using left-over grape skins from winemaking, vegetable oils and other natural fibres from agriculture.

Ganni's Vegea Collection

Its creation prevents these products from being sent to landfill and its production, which is REACH compliant, excludes toxic chemicals, heavy metals and other dangerous solvents. Vegea has a high proportion of plant-based content with 55% consisting of a bio-compound (vegetable oil and grapes) and 45% a water-based polyurethane (PU).

Ganni's Vegea collection

“We’re phasing out leather completely by 2023, as it conflicts with our efforts to minimise our impact due to high levels of methane emissions from the livestock. Introducing Vegea, a plant-based alternative made from agricultural waste is a step in the direction towards more responsible collections,” explained Ganni co-founder Nicolaj Reffstrup.

Plant-based leathers have been increasing in popularity and the technology behind them has improved lately leading to a more durable, high quality material. Pioneering brands such as Stella McCartney have been championing their use with McCartney recently revealing the first garments to be made from Mylo mushroom leather, while Nike also collaborated with Ananas Anam this year to create some its most iconic sneaker styles from pineapple leather.

Other plant-based leather alternatives include products made from cactus plants, corn and apple. The materials have become popular with brands looking to offer a vegan alternative to leather but some early examples were criticised for using polyurethane backings to improve the longevity of the material. This was regarded as unsustainable and made the products difficult to recycle, however the issue has been widely addressed with the use of bio and water-based polyurethanes, such as those used by Vegea.

Read our columnist Andrew Thompson's take on Agricultural Sneakers here. 

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