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Winemaking leftovers transformed into high-quality leather

Finding a high-quality alternative to skin and rawhide leather has been a hard nut to crack for the fashion business. Up until when VEGEA found a solution in the winemaking business. Potential partners are now lining up to collaborate with the Italian company.

Does using leftovers from winemaking to create fully vegetal leather sound like science fiction? It’s not. It is the very business idea of VEGEA, a company established in Milan in 2016. VEGEA was founded with the aim to promote the integration between chemistry and agriculture through the development of new eco-sustainable products. With this idea, VEGEA won the 2017 Global Change Award, and have since continued to develop plant-based alternatives to fully synthetic oil-derived materials for fashion, furniture, packaging, automotive and transportation.

In 2019, VEGEA started a collaboration with Bentley motors, to create sustainable material for car seats. In early 2020, a collaboration with luxury fashion brand Marni followed, where garments made by VEGEA materials showed up on the runway. A couple of months later, VEGEA announced that sustainable shoes and bags in the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection were made of their material.  

”Our journey as innovators begun by winning the GCA and we cannot be prouder to give our little support to achieve the H&M Group’s goal to only use recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.”

Valentina Longobardo, co-founder of VEGEA
VEGEA shoes for H&M.

The collaboration with H&M in the Conscious Exclusive Collection, opened the path to many worldwide collaborations, continuing in 2020 with Redemption, Le Coq Sportif, Serapian, & Other Stories, Richmond group, and more. The team also won the Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation program ever, and the European Parliament recognized VEGEA as one of the best European start-ups of the new millennium. In the spring of 2021 collaborations expanded with Pangaia, Maison Peaux Neuves and H&M Studio.

”After a year of Covid-related challenges things are slowly getting back to normal, and we realize that in general there is more awareness than before around environmental issues. We are happy to give our contribution to a more sustainable fashion industry,” says Valentina Longobardo.

One minute with VEGEA


Founders: Rosa Rossella Longobardo, Gianpiero Tessitore, Francesco Merlino and Valentina Longobardo
Contact: Valentina Longobardo