Are these Gucci’s most sustainable sneakers yet?
Gucci unveils three trainer styles, the ‘Basket’, ‘New Ace’ and ‘Rhyton’, crafted using Demetra, a new alternative to animal leather that has taken two years to create
Brands have hit the ground running when it comes to ecological material innovation, presenting fabrics that are not derived from animal products and are petroleum free. Take Hermès, which in March 2021 presented the prototype of its ‘Victoria’ travel bag, crafted from a mushroom-based leather called Slyvania, created in collaboration with Californian start-up MycoWorks. Or Allbirds, which in February 2021, announced investment in Natural Fiber Welding Inc, an American company offering a plant-derived alternative to leather.
Now Gucci has added an alternative, ecological material to its arsenal. Demetra, a culmination of two years of research and development by the Florentine house’s technicians and artisans, is a supple, soft and tannable alternative to leather, crafted primarily from sustainable, renewable, and bio-based sources.
In celebration of Demetra’s launch, Gucci has unveiled three retro-futuristic sneaker designs crafted using the fabric, the colourful high-top ‘Basket’; the ‘New Ace’ plimsoll, complete with spray-painted logo; and the chunky-soled, star-swathed ‘Rhyton’. Further designs, in trainers and additional product categories, are set to follow.
In the spirit of collaboration – which now permeates the fashion industry as it works to adopt more environmentally responsible manufacturing models – Gucci is set to to offer its Demetra material as an open innovation. It’s a mindset that many labels are sharing today. Allbirds’ sugarcane EVA material, used to make its SweetFoam soles, is used by Reebok, Timberland and Ugg, and in 2020, Allbirds announced a revolutionary brand partnership with Adidas, launching a trainer with a remarkably low carbon footprint in May 2021.
‘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,’ says Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci. Its debut Demetra sneakers represent a sustainble step in the right direction. §