Winner of the Biodesign Challenge 2018: WOOCOA

fleece sweater
© Ruggiero Scardigno - stock.adobe.com

The fashion industry is becoming more and more vegan-friendly, because more labels are eliminating animal products from their clothing. A designer prize for the best wool alternative has now been awarded to participating students from all over the world at the Biodesign Challenge 2018. The winner is “WOOCOA” from Colombia, with a wool made of hemp, coconut shells and mushrooms.

At WOOCOA, coconut shells and hemp are combined and treated with fungi-based enzymes. The product was invented by Colombian students at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. “It’s an eco-friendly solution that generates job opportunities in Colombia and can help mitigate the environmental impact from the textile industry,” says one of the students.

At the beginning of this year, designer Stella McCartney joined forces with the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to honour the participants in the Biodesign Challenge 2018 with a prize for the production of biofabricated vegan wool. McCartney has also launched her own vegan summer and children’s collection.

Such innovations involving the use of alternative materials are an essential component in the development of animal-free fashion. Companies such as “Bleed Clothing” are successfully positioning themselves on the market through their innovative use of alternative materials.