Student Design Teams Compete for PETA’s Animal-Free Wool Prize

Innovative Finalists Battle It Out to Nab a Prestigious Biodesign Challenge Prize, Visit Stella McCartney's London Headquarters

For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

New York – On Friday, the winners of the 2018 Biodesign Challenge will be announced at New York’s Museum of Modern Art—and three student design teams are also competing to win the PETA Prize for Animal-Free Wool, which includes a one- to two-week-long learning experience at Stella McCartney‘s London headquarters. The following innovative materials are contenders for the prize:

  • From the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, Woocoa is a vegan wool created from hemp and coconut fibers treated with enzymes extracted from the oyster mushroom.
  • Kerasynth, from the Maryland Institute College of Art, is a microfluidic vegan skin with an array of follicles producing wool—and students have already projected the company’s stages of development.
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology team has created Werewool, a fiber mimicking the properties of wool, by isolating and expressing a protein from their own DNA and combining it with a bonding enzyme.

“The next generation of designers knows that animal-free, eco-friendly materials are the future of fashion,” says PETA Director of Corporate Affairs Anne Brainard. “PETA’s Animal-Free Wool Prize will help aspiring designers develop a sustainable material that will keep sheep from being shorn bloody for wool sweaters and scarves.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—has released seven exposés recorded at 44 wool-producing facilities on three continents that have all revealed that sheep are mutilated, abused, and skinned alive in the international wool industry. Shearers are typically paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast, violent work. The wool industry also produces massive amounts of methane, erodes soil, and contaminates waterways.

The PETA Prize for Animal-Free Wool—which is sponsored by PETA, designer Stella McCartney, and Stray Dog Capital—is part of the Biodesign Challenge, which partners design students with biotech professionals to help them develop new inventions that push biotechnology forward.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind