The Italian fashion house is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and what better way to celebrate a century in fashion than promoting sustainability. On June 17th Gucci unveiled a new material made from 77% plant-based materials called Demetra, according to details on the Gucci site “The eco-friendly material combines animal-free raw materials primarily from sustainable, renewable, and bio-based sources”. 

Image Courtesy of Gucci

The new material comes after 2 years of in-house research and development, and after Gucci claimed back in 2017 that they were finished using real animal fur. Demetra, which comes from the name of the Greek goddess of agriculture and harvest, was kicked off with 3 reiterations of leather sneakers; the Gucci Basket, Rhyton, and New Ace. All three sneakers are constructed with new material, with other parts of the shoe being made of organic cotton, recycled steel, and recycled polyester.

Image Courtesy of The Hill

The Gucci Basket is a brightly coloured high-top sneaker reminiscent of NBA on-court sneakers from the 90s. A glitter-bombed colourway of pink, blue, and green are splattered across the chunky sneaker, with not-so-subtle hits of Gucci branding across sure to attract some glances. The Rhyton is a more conservative sneaker with the least branding out of the 3. A thick sole is capped off with a prominent rubber base layer, while a cream upper features 3 gold stars across the side panel with Gucci branding located on the heel. Finally, the New Ace shares the same outline and colourway as the iconic Adidas tennis sneaker the Stan Smith, flaunting all white with a green heel and Gucci sharpied across the side in an entertaining font. Demetra shares the same fabrication process used for tanning, which gives it the same pliable and resilient performance with a supple finish that you would find in leather. 

Marco Bizzarri (Image Courtesy of Fashion United)

“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,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci. To read more about Gucci’s collaboration with Balenciaga in honour of its 100th anniversary, check out this article from HOLR. In addition to using Demetra for its shoes, the fashion house plans on employing the material for all categories of products as well as expanding Demetra to other companies in the fashion industry. The new material will be offered as a leather substitute, as genuine leather will not be completely replaced at the fashion house. Regardless, it’s exciting to see such a large player in the fashion realm incorporating a plant-based material that has no impediments to scalability or limitations on volume. If Gucci can do it, that means anything is possible.