VEGEA fabric is made in Italy. It is a plant-based material which is not real 'leather' and does not describe itself as a leather. In keeping with Italian law. Amongst other uses to which the fabric is put is fashion - hence James&Co outerwear is available to be made in this vegan more sustainable fabric.
For the reason explained below, you will not see the word ‘leather’ in connection with the fabric. Its manufacturer describes VEGEA as a 'vegan coated fabric' with its name coming from the combination of VEG (Vegan) and GEA (Mother Earth). The term ‘biomaterials’ is also a description:
We develop plant-based alternatives to fully synthetic oil-derived materials for fashion, furniture, packaging, automotive & transportation. By leveraging the use of renewable resources as an alternative to non-renewable fossil ones, our production processes are based on the exploitation of biomass and vegetable raw materials.
The fabric is developed by a process for converting wine waste known as grape marc - that is grape skins, stalks and seeds discarded during wine production - into a textile.
As with cactus vegan leather, VEGEA has a coating of WBPU to give it the leather look and texture so it is not yet fully biodegradable.
The word 'leather' does not appear in its title or any of its texts because legislation passed in Italy in 2020 forbids the use of the word 'leather' in any way to describe materials not derived from the remains of animals - including its use in conjunction with other terms such as eco-leather, vegan leather, faux leather and other synthetic fabrics.
This is an important development for all stakeholders in the vegan leather market to watch as moves continue to push the legislation to other countries. Ultimately another word to describe synthetic leather look alternatives will be needed.
Large retailer H&M launched shoe and bag products made in Vegea in early 2020. The company said:
Going forward, we need to be using more bio-based materials and use more waste in our collections. It isn’t just about materials, though, it’s about how we can design clothes to last longer and to be eventually recycled, and how can we involve our customers to have more sustainable behaviour. It’s a holistic approach.’