Kering, the French multinational fashion corporation, has invested in cruelty-free lab-grown leather following the luxury fashion group’s announcement of going fur-free.

Source: Earthling Ed/Youtube

Vitrolabs, a California biotech startup, is developing lab-grown cow-free leather and has been working with Kering to develop leather alternatives for the fashion giant. Kering owns multiple high-end luxury brands, including Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. Imagine how many innocent lives would be saved if all of these huge brands switched over!

Kering investor in Vitrolab’s Series A funding round and has been working with the startup on development and tanning since 2018. Virtrolab’s goal is to create the first and largest pilot production of cell-cultivated leather and get it to the market as fast as possible.

Now, there are many leather alternatives available, including apple leather, mushroom leather, and synthetic leather. Many of these materials, like apple leather, get very close to the look and feel of leather, but unfortunately, production costs can be high, and there will still be people unwilling to try something like leather alternatives. Luckily, cruelty-free cell-cultivated leather is something no one can argue with!

Ingvar Helgason, who founded Vitrolabs in 2016, has developed a technique to replicate cow-skin cells in a lab. “We give the [cells] a similar environment where they can produce a hide like they would in an animal, but within our cultivators,” he told Vogue Business.

“What we’re looking to do is really change the source of where you get your animal hides from,” Helgason said. “The versatility of leather as a material is incredible, and the artistry and creativity get imbued into that material during the tanning process. So, it’s really exciting for us to be able to work with experienced partners in this space that can really bring out the best in our cultivated hides.”

Source: PETA UK/Youtube

The pilot facility will be up and running in the next year in California but they plan to ultimately relocate to a full-scale manufacturing facility near tanneries in Europe or elsewhere.

“We are investing in Vitrolabs and are working hand-in-hand with them to bring our experience of the industry and support for developing this material by doing product quality testing, tanning and finishing,” Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability, and institutional affairs officer at Kering told Vogue Business.

Leather will never be eco-friendly or sustainable. Producing leather from hides is not sustainable because raising and slaughtering cows is not sustainable. Not to mention the chemical waste that is created from creating leather.

Sign this petition to boycott the use of leather!

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