Danish street-style fashion brand Ganni has announced it will phase out animal leather by 2023. It will gradually replace leather items with plant-based alternatives, such as grape leather.

This Copenhagen-based company founded in 2000 by Frans Truelsen is considered a fast fashion low price luxury brand. But now is becoming more responsible trying to minimize its social and environmental impact.

Nicolaj Reffstrup, who took over the company in 2009, said: “We’re phasing out leather completely by 2023, as it conflicts with our efforts to minimize our impact due to high levels of methane emissions from the livestock.”

Alternatives to leather have now been developed all over. We now have leather made from cactus, mushrooms, apple peals, polyurethane, cork, natural rubber, hemp, etc. It seems this is a growing tech sector that will impact far beyond fashion (book covers, furniture, cars, sports gear, etc.). Some of the biggest car brands, such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla, already offer leather-free car interiors.

To choose a type of non-animal leather, Ganni has now partnered with Vegea, the Italian manufacturer of plant-based alternatives to leather. Using waste from grape skins, stalks, and seeds, it creates a strong leather-like material made of 55% vegetable oil and grape bio-compound, and 45% water-based polyurethane. No toxic chemicals, heavy metals or other dangerous solvents are used in the manufacturing process — while animal-based leather uses many of these through tanning. Ganni will be selling footwear made of this as early as spring 2022. It’s great to see how luxury brands are now ditching animal skins. The next step would be to choose the most ethical alternatives. As grape-leather is made from a by-product of winemaking, is mostly plant-based and quite sustainable. It would be interesting to see if any company would make it only using by-products of organic vegan wines made from regenerative veganic grape growers. Shoes made with such low Blood and Carbon footprints would be popular among ethical vegans.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.