Plus: Vegea it’s a vegetal biomaterial, 100% made from by-products of wine making
Field: New materials
Features: Winner of the 2017 H&M Global Change Award in 2017, Vegea is an Italian startup specialising in the search of innovative textile solutions for fashion and design, making use of biobased materials, compatible with the fashion and design industry.
Vegea was born in Milano in 2016, thanks to Giampiero Tessitore, architect, and Francesco Merlino, chemist. Its objective is the creation of valid alternatives to leather of animal origin. Winner of the 2017 H&M Global Change Award, Vegea is an Italian start-up specialising in the search of innovative textile solutions for fashion and design, making use of biobased materials.
Besides being the name of the company, Vegea is the first biomaterial it has produced, 100% of plant origin and made in Italy. It’s derived from plant fibres and oils that are found in grape marc, and it’s an ecological material with the same mechanical, aesthetic and sensory characteristics of animal skin.
The production of Vegea requires no water, whilst it takes 240 litres of water to produce a square metre of leather. Moreover, Vegea needs no chemicals and acids that are typical of traditional tanning, and therefore does not have side effects on the environment and on workers’ and consumers’ health. The production process of this ecological biomaterial is based on the machinery that is already used in tanneries.
Since the world yearly production of wine, which is around 26 billions litres, originates 7 billions of grape marc, the potential production of this vegetal biomaterial is of 3 billions square metres per year.
Today around 18% of the world wine production takes place in Italy, and therefore this country is the ideal place for the production of Vegea. However, this process that turns by-products into resources, could be of interest for all the big international wine-producing areas.
After a transitional period of product development, last Autumn Vegea launched its first collection to test the material, used to create shoes, bags and clothes.
At the moment the company is located in Rovereto within the Progetto Manifattura business incubator, the Italian clean-tech and circular economy centre by Trentino Sviluppo.