We usually prefer wine to be in a bottle or a glass, ready to drink, but when we heard that some fashion-forward geniuses wanted to turn wine waste into handbags, our priorities shifted.
Scientists and researchers are working to make a leather-like product out of wine grape skins, stems, and seeds, simultaneously eliminating waste and creating a truly unique accessory. It’s like next-level vegan leather, but even more sustainable because so much raw material is created as a byproduct of the world’s ever-growing wine consumption. The waste that is used here to create faux leather would normally be incinerated or dumped in landfills, so repurposing it into something that’s actually stylish is a total win.
Fashion brand H&M gave 300,000 Euros to a team led by Rosa Rosella Longobardo to continue developing the concept. The “grape leather” was a recipient of one of the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Awards, alongside other innovations like solar textiles and “manure couture.” The initiative was launched in 2015, and seeks to reward technology concepts that can help the fashion industry become increasingly sustainable.
“We are deeply glad that such a prestigious Foundation recognised the value of our innovation and strongly believed in it. Our first objectives will consist of switching from a pilot to an industrial scale production of our fabric and starting a green, cruelty-free revolution within the leather industry, finally solving its related issues and over-exploitations,” said Longobardo upon receiving the grant.
Vegea, an Italian company, plans to have a product made from grape leather ready by October. Refinery29 points out that this material could potentially go beyond handbags, and show up in shoes and outerwear. In the meantime, you should explore all the other ways the byproducts of booze production are being recycled. 3-D printed wine glasses are in the future, and beer waste is getting turned into everything from batteries to granola bars. What a time to be alive.