Gucci Introduces Animal-free Material

MILAN — After two years of in-house research and development, Gucci today is unveiling an innovative and groundbreaking animal-free luxurious material called Demetra.

Demetra contains upward of 77 percent plant-based raw materials and is made of viscose and wood pulp compound from sustainably managed forest sources as well as bio-based polyurethane from renewable sources.

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Produced entirely in Italy in Gucci’s factory, the new material is created using the same expertise and processes for tanning, which ensures that, in addition to offering top quality, the material is soft, durable, resilient and pliable, claimed the company.

To present the new material, Gucci is introducing three sneaker models made with Demetra, retailing at between 590 and 790 euros.

The Gucci Basket, Gucci New Ace and Gucci Rhyton sneakers are the first brand products made with Demetra, including the majority of the upper and part of the linings. Other components contain organic cotton, recycled steel and recycled polyester. The Gucci New Ace and Gucci Rhyton models are available in Gucci stores and online immediately and the Gucci Basket from June 18. Further sneaker models and other product categories using Demetra will follow soon.

“In our 100th anniversary year, Demetra is a new category of material that encapsulates Gucci’s quality and aesthetic standards with our desire to innovate, leveraging our traditional skills and know-how to create for an evolving future,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci. “Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions.”

The company has filed patent and trademark applications for the material, whose name was chosen by creative director Alessandro Michele, inspired by Greek mythology and Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and new harvest, given its plant-based foundation.

Other compounds that are needed to guarantee quality and aesthetics have been kept at a bare minimum, and there is continuous research to replace them with more sustainable elements, Gucci said. In addition, Demetra scraps during manufacturing will be upcycled and reused by the company as an extension of its Gucci-Up program, a circular economy initiative focused on the upcycling of waste leather and textiles generated during the production process.

The company said the material has no impediments to scalability or limitations on volume.

During the initial phase, Gucci will offer Demetra, which can be customized, to the brands under its parent company Kering, making it then available to the fashion industry from the beginning of 2022.

The material will not replace leather, but Gucci will offer an animal-free option, incorporating Demetra across its collections, as it can be used for all categories of products, from footwear and accessories to handbags and apparel.

Demetra is made at Gucci’s factory Gruppo Colonna based in Tuscany. As a joint venture with Gucci since October 2019, the fashion house owns 51 percent of Gruppo Colonna.

As part of Gucci’s carbon neutral commitment, any remaining greenhouse gas emissions associated with Demetra are translated into protecting and restoring forests and biodiversity.

Gucci is conducting a third-party Life Cycle Assessment to quantify the associated impacts on the environment throughout Demetra’s life cycle. The LCA will also allow Gucci to define its impacts based on Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss methodology and compare Demetra with other materials.

Earlier this week, the company published its inaugural Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report, and, incorporating 2020 data, its new Environmental Profit and Loss results revealed that the house surpassed its 2025 reduction target four years ahead of time, with a 44 percent reduction of total environmental impacts and a 47 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions on a 2015 baseline.

“We have surpassed our target to reduce our total footprint four years early, an achievement that underlines our commitment to transformative change,” Bizzarri said. “It is our mission to be part of the solution for a better tomorrow and we will continue to build authentic value across our business and in the wider world — value for people, value for climate and value for nature.”

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