Gucci unveils animal-free leather alternative

Gucci unveils animal-free leather alternative
© Courtesy Gucci

Gucci will start using a new material made up of “animal-free” leather and other sustainable resources, the Italy-based luxury fashion brand announced Thursday. 

According to details shared with The Hill, the material, called “Demetra,” is a “new groundbreaking luxury material that combines quality, softness, durability, and scalability with an eco-friendly ethos.” 

Three Gucci sneaker models unveiled Thursday are the first products made with Demetra, with other components of the shoes containing “organic cotton, recycled steel, and recycled polyester,” the company said. 

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The Gucci New Ace and Gucci Rhyton models are currently available online and in Gucci stores, while the Gucci Basket shoe will be available starting Friday. 

The company said it soon plans to release other shoes and products made with Demetra, which according to Gucci contains up to 77 percent plant-based materials. 

“In our 100th anniversary year, Demetra is a new category of material that encapsulates Gucci’s quality and aesthetic standards with our desire to innovate, leveraging our traditional skills and know-how to create for an evolving future,” Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, said in a statement shared with The Hill.

“Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions,” he added. 

Gucci said that in addition to using Demetra for its own products, it also plans to make the material “available to the fashion industry as a new material source that can be customized to offer exclusive finishing, further facilitating application and differentiation.” 

While Gucci said Demetra “can be adopted for all categories of products, including footwear, accessories and handbags, and apparel,” it is unveiling the material as another alternative to leather, which will not be completely replaced at the company. 

The move comes after the brand announced in 2017 that it would officially stop selling fur-based products, with the company saying on its website that it has “not used any fur from animals whatsoever” since early 2018. 

Gucci was followed by several other luxury brands and companies that have decided to drop the use of animal fur, including Macy’s, Versace and Prada.