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Animal-free: Gucci introduces vegan sneaker

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Jun. 17, 2021

Fashion

Image: Gucci Rhyton sneaker

Gucci has launched a series of vegan sneaker options made from animal-free materials.

The luxury giant on Thursday debuted new options of its Rhyton and New Ace sneakers, crafted primarily from Demetra. Created with the same processes used for tanning, the new material offers pliable and performance resilience with a supple finish, much like leather. The eco-friendly material combines animal-free raw materials mostly from sustainable, renewable, and bio-based sources, said Gucci.

While leather remains a dominant fabric in Gucci’s accessory and shoe designs, it is joining other luxury giants, like Hermes - who earlier this year launched a bag made from mushrooms - testing new products made from alternative materials. If successful, more items could be rolled out with less reliance on natural resources.

Fabric innovation and alternative sourcing remain one of the fashion industry’s most urgent and important calls to action in the face of climate change. Beyond marketing and capitalising on the sustainability trend, true investment in alternative sourcing will steer businesses away from fast fashion methods, where opting for the cheapest fabrics and lowest sewing price per garment is still the norm.

Luxury alternatives to leather have mostly hovered in prototype phase, as products are being tested and introduced to the market in small batches. True innovation will come when scaling is possible and reliance on natural resources will no longer be needed.