Lebiu, vegan material has roots in Sardinia
From Sardinia, land of cork, comes an alternative to natural leather, suede and bio-denim effect. It is called Lebiu, lightness in Sardinian, to fix even in the name the physical characteristics of cork and the company's ability to transform agro-industry waste into valuable materials by minimizing the "heavy process" of production.
Let's find out together with Bettina Grampa, in the Chi ri-cerca Trova column:
Lebiu, a startup born from an idea of Fabio Molinas, was in fact made up with the goal of making materials capable of reducing the ecological footprint of raw materials, production processes and logistics. A target hit by focusing on the upcycling of waste from the cork industry to generate carbon neutral fabrics.
The turning point came in 2019 when the European Commission selected the project for an incentive program for creative industries committed to reducing the environmental impact of the textile industry. In the same year, Alessandro Sestini joins Fabio Molinas as founding partner and CEO.
Lebiu's research resulted in two solutions that can be integrated into the fashion industry. The first is Corkskin, a bio-material made from cork particles and plant-based polymers that maintains the aesthetic appearance of "real" leather. The internal structure, composed of recycled natural or synthetic fibers, plant-based polymers and cork particles, gives the material abrasion and cut resistance.
Nanocork, on the other hand, is a finish made from natural pigments extracted from roots and plants that can be applied directly to garments, using minimal amounts of water and chemicals. It is a sustainable alternative for giving garments a second life by salvaging those damaged during the dyeing production process.