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Oxford University student creates vegan leather from Colombian succulents

Gabriel Moreno, a PhD student at Oxford University, recently made vegan leather from the Columbian Fique plant and natural rubber latex. The material is part of an environmentally friendly textile company Fiquetex, founded by Moreno and his father Alex. Fiquetex produces 100 percent sustainable, biodegradable and renewable fabric and leather products in its Colombian plant.

The father-son team has been researching and designing its fique fabrics for five years to create a fully sustainable textile alternative to environmentally harmful materials such as plastic and artificial leather. Their fique fabrics use only 10 percent of the energy it takes to make the same amount of nylon. Thanks to its unique circular economy process, the material biodegrades in just 100 days after it is buried in the ground at the end of its useful life. In developing and patenting the Fiquetex process, Moreno also worked with the Royal Academy of Engineering in London to perfect the innovative process.

Award-winning vegan leather startup

Moreno, who is currently studying Latin American economics at Oxford, recently won an entrepreneurship award in the university’s All Innovate competition, which increased his confidence in his startup. “I’ve always been excited about how we can live more sustainably today to ensure a healthier and greener future for the planet,” said Moreno. “Companies from H&M to the Forest Green Rovers football club are looking for new sustainable alternatives. Countries like China and Canada are banning single-use plastics and we have the green and economical solution the world needs. “

Moreno plans to launch Fique Fabric and Fique Vegan Leather in July for global industrial use.

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