H&M's New Collection Features Vegan Leather Made From Wine Waste

mbg Editorial Assistant By Christina Coughlin
mbg Editorial Assistant
Christina Coughlin is an editorial assistant at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.
Woman in a Leather Jacket

Image by Lyuba Burakova / Stocksy

The many different sources for vegan leather have proved the endless opportunities there are to be sustainable with our fashion choices—first, there was pineapple leather, and now we have grape leather. H&M's latest source for vegan leather comes from the byproducts of wine.

"In 2020 and beyond, we need to take the concept of circularity to another level," says H&M sustainability manager Pascal Brun in an interview with Vogue. "It's the only way to think about our goals for natural resources." Their newest "Conscious Collection" features all sorts of eco-forward materials, from jeans to jackets.

Grape leather

The source of this wine leather comes from an Italian company called Vegea, after they won H&M's Global Change Award in 2017. A company focused on creating entirely "vegetal" leather, Vegea was also selected by Bentley as the leather used to line the car's interior in a 2019 model to promote sustainability

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How does it work?

According to Vegea's website, "In collaboration with Italian wineries, we have developed a process for the valorization of wine waste: grape marc, that is composed of grape skins, stalks, and seeds discarded during wine production." In H&M's new collection, Vegea will provide this vegan leather to be used in some shoe products and as the strap for many handbags. 

H&M is no newcomer to sustainability, however. Since 2012, the company has been rewarding its customers for recycling old clothing by offering a 15% discount to anyone bringing in old clothing when purchasing something new. All types of clothing are welcome, and H&M uses those textiles to create new products. In 2018 alone, the company collected over 20,000 tons of unwanted clothing to be recycled.

Even with these various initiatives, the company acknowledges that there is still so much to be done to reduce clothing waste around the world. For this reason, H&M has decided to make a goal of maintaining 100% recyclable and sustainably sourced materials on all their products by the year 2030. "It isn't just about materials, though," says Brun. "It's about how we can design clothes to last longer and to be eventually recycled and how can we involve our customers to have more sustainable behavior. It's a holistic approach."

For more on sustainable fashion, check out how other companies are creating recyclable fabrics, plus our tips for making your closet more environmentally friendly.

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