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Not only does animal leather production require the lives of millions of animals annually, it also affects the environment by using acids, heavy metals and lots of water for tanning. Production of synthetic leather alternatives might save the lives of animals, but generates pollution with synthetic polymers, plasticizers and solvents. Strangely enough, a glass of wine might be the solution.

Winner 2017

The innovation in a nutshell

Using leftovers from winemaking to create an innovative material characterised by the high content of vegetal, renewable and recycled raw materials.

More in detail

Architect Gianpiero Tessitore was working on his furniture designs when he realized that the fashion industry still can’t offer a truly green alternative to animal and synthetic leather. Together with industrial chemist Francesco Merlino, he embarked on a mission to find one.

After three years of research they discovered that grape skins, stalks and seeds discarded during wine production are is ideal for making 100% vegetal leather. No toxic solvents, heavy metals or dangerous substances are needed in the production process.

“Thanks to the economic grant, the networking and media opportunities provided by the Global Change Award, we built credibility that allowed us to initiate important partnerships and collaborations in the industry, and finally industrialize a first version of the material.”

Gianpiero Tessitore

Team members: Rosa Rossella Longobardo, Gianpiero Tessitore, Francesco Merlino and Valentina Longobardo
Country: Italy