Fashion, Design & Beauty

Stella McCartney Partners with Champagne House Veuve Clicquot to Turn Grape Waste Into Luxurious Vegan Leather 

British designer Stella McCartney and the famous champagne house Veuve Clicquot have partnered to recycle grape waste to make a luxurious vegan leather with sustainability credentials.

The two brands are subsidiaries of LVMH (Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy), the world’s leading luxury group, which reportedly gets one-third of its revenues from fashion and leather goods. In April 2023, LVMH was in news headlines, named as the first European company to reach a $500bn valuation.

Stella McCartney states that with this initiative, both companies are pursuing sustainable, circular economy, and regenerative practices under the umbrella and luxury standards of LVMH. The environmental impact of animal leather is immense, with animal agriculture contributing to an estimated 11-17% of the world’s GHG emissions, argues the fashion brand.

A pair of women shoes made with grape leather

VEGEA’s grape skin

The Italian biomaterials company VEGEA used the by-products of Veuve Clicquot’s harvest to develop a grape skin that is said to have a 40% lower impact on global warming as well as a 50% reduction in water usage compared to plastic alternatives to leather. The grape leather is made of 80% vegetal, renewable, and recycled raw waste. The leather alternative is said to be solvent, metal, and free from dangerous and toxic substances. 

VEGEA was founded in 2016 in Milan to develop eco-sustainable, plant-based alternatives to synthetic, oil-derived materials. Its flagship product, the vegan-coated fabric VEGEA, can be used in the fashion, automotive, furniture, and packaging industries.

Moreover, the vegan leather complies with international standards and regulations, including the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and REACH. With various technical and aesthetic properties developed by the biomaterials company, VEGEA can cater to individual customers’ needs, including bespoke colors. GEOX, HM, and Clavin Klein have launched fashion items featuring VEGEA. 

Also using the luxurious vegan leather (but made with waste from Veuve Clicquot), Stella McCartney has handcrafted luxury accessories that debuted at the Summer 2024 runway show during Paris Fashion Week.

During her Winter 2023 show, Stella McCartney introduced the brand’s iconic luxury handbags, Falabella and Frayme, crafted from MIRUM, a plastic and animal-free leather produced by US materials company Natural Fiber Welding.

McCartney claims that she has never used leather, feathers, skin, or fur in her creations since the launch of the fashion brand in 2001.

“This collaboration is the perfect blend of my cruelty-free vision with Veuve Clicquot’s incredible natural ingredients, using waste to circularly create a luxurious alternative to animal leather that can be easily scaled and change the industry. You truly cannot tell the difference; this is a better way,” said Stella McCartney.

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