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VEGEA: innovation for a sustainable and cruelty-free world

Turning waste into a resource is one of the cornerstones of the circular economy. VEGEA, which obtained a material very similar to leather from wine production waste, has brilliantly met this challenge.

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Did you know that the fashion industry is, considering the entire production chain, one of the most polluting industries? Precisely for this reason, several of the world’s best-selling brands plan to use only environmentally sustainable materials by 2030. And, wine leather is undoubtedly eco-friendly and completely cruelty-free. It is a 100% Made in Italy product made from Italian wine waste and created by the Milanese start-up VEGEA srl, whose name is a combination of VEG (vegan) and GEA (the Earth).

From marc to leather

An innovative, pioneering project and a perfect example of circular economy: founded in 2016 by Giampiero Tessitore, an architect born in 1979, and Francesco Merlino, an industrial chemist born in 1989, VEGEA has developed a process that allows wine processing waste (fibres, skins, seeds, stalks, etc.) to be transformed into soft leather using non-toxic chemical reagents.

Circular economy to reduce waste

In wine production, two kilograms of marc are produced for every 10 litres of wine, a waste material that usually needs to be disposed of and that the Italian start-up can transform into one square metre of soft VEGEA leather instead. Considering that 26 billion litres of wine and 7 billion kilograms of grape marc are produced worldwide every year, it is easy to see that there is no shortage of raw material, especially considering that Italy is among the world’s largest wine producers.

Research and development at the service of innovation

Thanks to a series of partnerships and synergies with research institutes and private companies, as well as continuous investment in research, it has been possible to develop innovative and environmentally friendly technologies and processes.

VEGEA’s commitment to sustainability is validated by the Global Recycled Standard certification, the most important international standard for recycled products. This certification ensures traceability of content and production processes, restrictions on the use of chemicals, and compliance with environmental and social sustainability criteria at all stages of production.

Bentley too chooses VEGEA

The resulting material is used for clothing, accessories, furniture, and even the automotive industry. Bentley recently chose VEGEA to cover the seats of the EXP 100 G.

The WineLeather fabric also won the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, an annual award for products demonstrating excellent commercial potential.

A growing company

Today, VEGEA, based in Bergamo, has a turnover of millions of Euros, dozens of employees, and business relations with the fashion and furniture worlds, as well as with Italian wine companies supplying the marc.

Congratulations to those who bring Made in Italy sustainability and innovation to the world!

Learn about other Made in Italy companies that put innovation at the core of their business.