Named after the Greek agricultural goddess, Demeter, this innovative material has been two years in the making, and is produced in Gucci’s own Italian factory. Not only is it animal-free, it’s also been manufactured with a focus on quality, softness, durability, and scalability. Plus, it’s composed of more than 77% plant-based raw materials, which include viscose and wood pulp compounds (from sustainably managed forest sources) and bio-based polyurethane (from renewable sources), amongst other compounds.
As Demetra has been crafted by Gucci’s in-house team, it’s been created using the very same expertise the Italian luxury brand usually lends to its tanning process, leading to a material that is pliable and tough—but also ultra-luxe. It also means it’s suitable for use in a variety of product categories, although it’s making its debut with Gucci’s Rhyton, New Ace, and Basket sneaker silhouettes.
“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,” Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, shared in a statement. “Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions.”
For now, Demetra is being used solely by Gucci, although the brand has plans to make it available to the wider fashion industry in the future. Additionally, Demetra scraps created during the manufacturing process will be upcycled and given a new lease of life through an extension of the Gucci-Up program.
It’s important to note that Demetra will not act as a total replacement for leather in Gucci’s product offering, but as an alternative option, and since Demetra is not entirely plant-based, it’s not biodegradable. So while these sneakers may be crafted from a more “earth-conscious” material, sadly they’ll still likely end up in landfill at the end of their life cycle.
In other footwear news, Nike just dropped a collection of sneakers made from pineapples.