Fashion: leather made from wine grapes

The world of fashion and the reality of wine meet and give life to an innovative fact: a unique, extraordinary, fantastic leather strictly of vegetable origin, the result of processing wine grape waste. This is Grape Leather, an Italian invention destined to leave its mark.

H&M Foundation rewards an idea made in Italy

It is an Italian idea that has won the 2017 Global Change Award, the contest launched by the H&M Foundation. It was created to encourage the fashion industry’s transition to a circular and waste-free approach. As a result, it is Grape Leather, a 100 per cent vegetable leather produced from wine-making waste. The first prize of 300,000 euros went to the Grape Leather team and is the result of online voting between 27 March and 2 April 2017 among H&M customers and fans.

‘Working on production’: the Italian team’s priority

The Italian team that came up with this eco-friendly leather, which can recycle grape waste, expressed great satisfaction and excitement. “We are deeply delighted that such a prestigious Foundation recognised the value of our innovation and strongly believed in it. – said Rossella Longobardo, representative of the ‘Grape Leather’ innovation team – Our first goal will be to focus on moving from a pilot project to industrial-scale production of our fabric and to start a green, cruelty-free revolution within the leather goods sector, thus solving the current problems and over-exploitation.

The Italian winning team
The Italian winning team in 2017

All award-winners

Not only vegetable leather. The 2017 award-winning ideas were diverse. In addition to the 300,000 euro for Grape Leather, the H&M Foundation awarded 250,000 euro for Solar Textiles (USA/Switzerland), 150,000 euro for Content Thread (USA/UK), 150,000 euro for Denim-dyed Denim (Australia) and 150,000 euro for Manure Couture (Netherlands). “I congratulate all the winners. These innovations can help reinvent the fashion industry, enabling products and raw materials to have more than one life, said Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Foundation. In addition, winning the Global Change Award gives a boost through funding, industry access and a network that are probably not always easy to find.”

The winning projects will benefit from a year of assistance and consultancy provided by the H&M Foundation in cooperation with Accenture and the Kth Real Institute of Technology in Stockholm. “The consumer focus on more sustainable products requires us to review and redesign the entire fashion value chain. – explained Jill Standish, Senior Managing Director of Retail at Accenture – The Global Change Award is the first initiative of its kind in fashion related to embryonic ideas. We are impressed by the creativity and disruptive innovation demonstrated by the five award winners”.

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