Oxford University student pioneers vegan fique leather and wins entrepreneur award | #students | #parents


Oxford University student Gabriel Moreno has pioneered Fique Vegan Leather – a 100% sustainable, biodegradable and renewable fabric created from the Colombian Fique plant.

His new textile company, Fiquetex, has seen him win the All-Innovate award, founded by Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2017. The award seeks out the best forward-thinking ideas that will have a positive impact on the world and is open to all 24,000 Oxford students.

Along with his father, Gabriel wanted to find a way to fight climate change and live more sustainably, so they spent five years researching potential textiles before deciding on Fique fabric. In fact, Fique Vegan Leather uses just 10% of the energy needed to make popular textile Nylon.

Fiquetex’s unique and patented circular economy process means that production will benefit the environment and wider communities, from the local farmers who harvest the plant, to the soil that will receive nutrients as all their Fique materials will biodegrade in just 100 days after being buried in the ground. The Fique plant also absorbs Co2 when alive, further helping to reduce harmful emissions in the environment.

Moreover, Fique offers a cruelty-free alternative to both the barbaric leather industry and plastic industry killing our oceans.

‘An environmentally friendly and economical solution’

Gabriel explained: “I’ve always been passionate about how we can live more sustainably today to secure a healthier and greener future for the planet.

“Companies from H&M to Forest Green Rovers football club are looking for new sustainable alternatives. Countries such as China and Canada are banning single-use plastics and we have an environmentally friendly and economical solution the world needs”.

Adaptable for all industries

Aside from being perfect to replace leather in the fashion industry, Fiquetex also has the potential to be adaptable for all industries.

The All-Innovate judges were impressed by Fiquetex’s versatility, as the durable fabric can be used to make carrier bags, packaging material, scouring pads and even cut flower wrapping.

These everyday items are currently made from unsustainable plastic materials, so if Fiquetex could replace them, this would be a huge step in the elimination of single-use plastics.

Fiquetex will begin trading in July this year, and more information can be found on the website. 

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