Woocoa Nabs PETA’s 2018 Animal-Free Wool Prize

Wool Made From Hemp, Coconut Fibers Earns Student Design Team a Prestigious Learning Experience With Stella McCartney

For Immediate Release:
June 25, 2018

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York – The winners of the 2018 Biodesign Challenge were announced at a special ceremony at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on Friday—and Woocoa won the PETA Prize for Animal-Free Wool, which includes a one- to two-week-long learning experience at designer Stella McCartney’s London headquarters. Created by a group of innovative design students from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, Woocoa is a vegan wool made from hemp and coconut fibers treated with enzymes extracted from the oyster mushroom.

“The kind minds behind Woocoa came up with an eco-friendly, biofabricated material that will satisfy consumers and keep sheep from being shorn bloody for cruelly obtained wool,” says PETA Director of Corporate Affairs Anne Brainard. “PETA’s Animal-Free Wool Prize gives compassionate aspiring designers the boost that they need to help change the world for the better.”

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, 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.

In addition to Woocoa, the award finalists were Kerasynth from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Werewool from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
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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