Sheep-free wool nabs PETA prize

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In Colombia, students from the La Universidad de Los Andes have won the Bio Design Challenge, a contest cosponsored by animal rights group PETA and fashion house Stella McCartney.

The winning team, dubbed WOOCOA, created the material using waste coconut fibers and hemp fibers. The material also required lactase enzymes found in oyster mushrooms to break down the fibers’ lignin. The resulting fabric is flexible, elastic, easy-to-dye and wicks away humidity.

The team will now receive mentorship from Stella McCarthy and Stray Dog Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in startups that enable “animal-free” economies.

PETA says sheep are often injured and in distress following the shearing process.