Stella McCartney teamed up with PETA and investment firm Stray Dog Capital to sponsor the first-ever PETA Prize for Animal-Free Woolprize at the 2018 Biodesign Challenge, which tasked students with creating a sustainable vegan wool biomaterial. A unique and cruelty-free solution by the name of 'Woocoa' was named the winner of the challenge.
Woocoa, created by a group of students from Columbia's Universidad de los Andes Bogotá, is made from hemp and coconut fibers that are treated with enzymes extracted from oyster mushrooms. Beyond the focus on the material itself, students were also asked to consider the entirety of the wool alternative's lifecycle.
As Stella McCartney is a champion for compassionate, cruelty-free fashion, the winning students will have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program at the designer's London headquarters.