Innovation That Matters

The Unwasted Collection includes two bags – the Unwasted Chardonnay and the Unwasted Merlot | Photo source Meng Du

Designer creates vegan-leather bags from leftover grape skins

Fashion & Beauty

The collection aims to draw attention to the importance of recycling, while encouraging consumers to rethink how their belongings are made

Spotted:  Chinese designer Meng Du has released a new collection of bags made with an alternative leather produced from leftover grape skins. The bags have been created in partnership with OddBird, a non–alcoholic wine producer based in Sweden.  

For her Unwasted collection, Du sourced the material from Planet of the Grapes, a French producer of materials and natural dyes made from waste grape skins. Planet of the Grapes uses a byproduct of wine production called grape marc. Grape marc consists of all surplus skins, pulp, pips, and stems of the fruit left over after pressing.

To make the leather alternative, the grape marc is sun dried and ground into a powder. The powder is then blended with other natural ingredients to create a liquid that is poured onto a fabric of natural stem fibres and left to dry again.

“The entire process takes around four or five weeks, as it starts off with the spreading out and the drying all of the grapes in the sunshine for a couple of weeks,” explains Planet of the Grapes co-founder Sam Mureau.

The collection features two models: a large squashed plastic milk carton looking bag called Unwasted Merlot, and a tin-can-like pack named Unwasted Chardonnay which is smaller. Du explains that she hopes the shapes will draw attention to the importance of recycling as well as encouraging consumers to rethink how their belongings are made. 

For the Unwasted Merlot, it takes about 1,200 grapes to create enough leather alternative – which is about 0.5 square metres of leather. The bags are currently available to pre-order before on-demand production begins later in the year.

Springwise has spotted innovations using leather alternatives made from hemp, apples, and mushrooms.

Written By: Katrina Lane



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