Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci has announced that it has developed an eco-friendly material made from sustainable, renewable and bio-based sources. The iconic fashion brand is marking its 100th anniversary year with the release of its first-ever range of vegan shoes.
The pathbreaking animal-free material ‘Demetra’ is a result of two years of in-house research and development by Gucci, and “combines quality, softness and durability with an eco-friendly ethos”.
Gucci’s new vegan shoe range is comprised of three styles: the Gucci Basket, Gucci New Ace, and Gucci Rhyton. And if you’re itching to get your hands — or feet! — on the new designs, they are available to purchase in stores and online. As is to be expected, Gucci’s new vegan shoes all come with a high-end price tag too. Aimed at the luxury market, the animal-free sneakers will retail between $702 and $940.
Demetra is produced entirely in a Gucci factory in Italy using the same expertise and processes for tanning that makes the material flexible and resilient while giving it a supple finish. Inspired by the Greek goddess of harvest Demeter, the innovative new material is made from an impressive 77 per cent plant-based raw materials, according to Business of Fashion. While the shoes still feature some synthetic materials, Gucci is aiming to find more sustainable options to replace them with.
In a press release, Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, stated, “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.
“Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions.”
Demetra is a leather-like material made up of viscose along with wood pulp compounds and recycled steel. To make sure the shoes are as eco-friendly as possible, Gucci has sourced the wood pulp from sustainably managed forests. Additionally, the sneakers also contain biobased polyurethane sourced from wheat and corn.
Gucci has also announced that as part of its mission to support a circular economy and through an extension of its Gucci-Up program, Demetra scraps produced during the manufacturing process will be upcycled and reused by the company.
Gucci has been working towards building a sustainable brand philosophy for a few years now and had also launched Gucci Equilibrium, an online platform to facilitate its commitment to sustainability. Its 10-year sustainability plan is centred around three pillars: environment, people and innovation.
The company recently released its first-ever Equilibrium Impact Report. Commenting on the same, Bizzarri said, “Our inaugural Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report illustrates our actions and commitments to be inclusive, sustainable, responsible and accountable in everything we do. We have surpassed our target to reduce our total footprint four years early, an achievement that underlines our commitment to transformative change. It is our mission to be part of the solution for a better tomorrow and we will continue to build authentic value across our business and in the wider world – value for people, value for climate and value for nature.”