Gucci can't just launch a campaign for its new sneakers, it's gotta create a brand new textile. Coinciding with the debut of its new Basket sneaker, the Italian luxury house is introducing Demetra, a proprietary textile that Gucci's touting as an eco-friendly substitute for animal byproducts.

Demetra, named in homage to Greek agricultural goddess Demeter, is comprised of "upwards to 77 percent plant-based raw materials," Gucci explains. Two years in the making, it's produced in Italy like the rest of the house's goods and will soon be incorporated into Gucci's shoes, bags, accessories, and apparel as an alternative to — not replacement for — leather. For now, it's a Gucci exclusive, but by 2022, the label expects to share Demetra with the wider fashion industry in a bid to provide new, scaleable uses for pre-fab materials.

It's hard to say from outside observation alone that the material is properly "sustainable" given the nuances around the term, but any proactivity in uncovering alternate production methods is hardly unwelcome. Indeed, Gucci is working hard to own the sustainable conversation, announcing Demetra's rollout mere days after premiering the first-ever Equilibrium Impact Report.

"Demetra is a new category of material that encapsulates Gucci’s quality and aesthetic standards with our desire to innovate, leveraging our traditional skills and know-how to create for an evolving future," said Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, in a statement. "Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions."

Oh, and that new Basket sneaker? It's a chunky high-top steeped in retro basketball sneaker design cues like a thick, logo-laden tongue and stitched overlays atop a mixed-material upper. Offered in three gently distressed colorways, the Basket, Rhyton, and New Ace are Gucci's first shoes to be partially crafted from Demetra, demonstrating the textile's leather-like properties.

The Demtra Rhyton is already available on Gucci's website, shortly arriving in-store alongside the New Ace. The Basket, meanwhile, will be available from June 18 with a Shoe Surgeon partnership on the way. Coinciding with all this, Gucci will launch new Pins in Atlanta, Aventura, Troy, Beverly Hills, Houston, Dallas, Orlando, and Las Vegas, inspired by basketball courts, appropriately enough.

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