Gucci Introduces Vegan Leather Sneakers In 3 Statement Styles

Gucci Introduces Vegan Leather Sneakers In 3 Statement Styles

Gucci is getting into the vegan leather sneakers game. 

The Italian luxury brand announced Thursday that it has developed a vegan alternative to leather. Named Demetra in reference to the Greek goddess of harvest, the innovative new fabric is made with 77 percent plant-based materials, Business of Fashion reports. 

Gucci’s vegan leather contains viscose and wood pulp compounds sourced from sustainable managed forests. It also contains biobased polyurethane sourced from wheat and corn. The shoes still feature some synthetic materials, including polyurethane and resin. The luxury brand says that it intends to replace these with more sustainable alternatives down the line.

The announcement coincides with the launch of vegan versions of Gucci’s New Ace and Rhyton sneakers made from Demetra, organic cotton, and recycled steel and polyester. A third shoe, called the Gucci Basket, drops on June 18.

Gucci Introduces Vegan Leather Sneakers In 3 Statement Styles
The vegan Rhyton sneaker is crafted from Demetra, which is made using the same method as leather tanning. | Cosimo Sereni/Gucci

Gucci’s Vegan Leather Sneakers & Luxury Fashion’s Sustainable Future

The Florence-based fashion house says that it spent two years developing its vegan leather in-house with Gruppo Colonna, a Tuscany-based group of tanneries that it majority owns. It has filed to patent and trademark Demetra. From there, it will move to market the material to other Kering-owned brands.

Gucci is not alone in its move to introduce vegan leather. Fashion appears to be moving toward sustainability, seeking to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z’s interest in conscious consumerism.

Kering, the brand’s parent company which also owns Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen, formed a consortium with mushroom mycelium leather maker Bolt Threads. Stella McCartney and sportswear giant Adidas also joined Kering. All members of the consortium have exclusive access to Bolt Threads’ sustainable leather alternative, called Mylo.

French fashion house Hermès is also getting into the mushroom leather game. Earlier this year, it announced Sylvania, an amber-hued leather alternative made in collaboration with California-based startup Mycoworks.

But, mushroom leather isn’t the only innovative material that has caught the luxury fashion world’s attention. There’s also cactus leather, made by Mexican startup Desserto. The Karl Lagerfeld brand introduced it in the form of vegan handbags in April. 

The sneaker launch is part of Gucci’s ongoing sustainability efforts. The company is already carbon neutral. In January, it committed to protecting and regenerating forests, mangroves, and farming landscapes around the world in an effort to help mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity.