This Brand Is Making Leather Using Pineapple Fibres And Even Sells To Nike; Meet Piñatex, The Vegan Leather!

Explore the future of sustainable style with Piñatex!

by Mallika Khurana
This Brand Is Making Leather Using Pineapple Fibres And Even Sells To Nike; Meet Piñatex, The Vegan Leather!

Imagine a textile that embodies the ethos of sustainability while offering the allure of luxury. In a world where sustainability meets style, Piñatex emerges as a game-changer, offering a remarkable alternative to traditional leather.  But what exactly is Piñatex? Imagine a material crafted not from animal hides, but from the discarded leaves of pineapples – yes, you read that right.

Piñatex: The Revolutionary Vegan Textile

pineapple leather
Photo Credits: Ananas Anam/Website

The story begins with Carmen Hijosa, whose foray into the leather industry revealed its environmental toll. Disheartened by the toxic processes and poor quality of conventional leather, she sought a solution. Inspired by the traditional Philippine garment, the barong tagalog, made from pineapple fibres, Hijosa embarked on a seven-year odyssey of research and development.

After seven years of meticulous development, including a PhD at the Royal College of Art, Piñatex was born. Hijosa collaborated with institutions across the globe, culminating in the establishment of Ananas Anam Ltd., the company behind Piñatex.

Central to Piñatex’s narrative is its transformation of waste into a valuable resource. Pineapple leaves, previously discarded or burned, are now harvested for their cellulose fibres, a process that not only repurposes agricultural by-products but also provides additional income to farmers. Approximately 480 leaves from 16 pineapple plants yield one square metre of Piñatex, significantly reducing waste while bolstering economic opportunities for local communities.

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The Sustainable Future Of Fashion


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The journey from pineapple fields to fashion accessories is a testament to sustainability. After decorticating and washing the fibres, they are naturally dried, eliminating the need for additional energy consumption. These fibres are then blended with PLA, derived from cornstarch, to create Piñatex’s distinctive non-woven substrate. The material undergoes further refinement, including colouring and coating, before reaching the hands of designers and manufacturers.

Piñatex epitomises eco-consciousness throughout its lifecycle. By repurposing pineapple leaf fibres, it minimises environmental impact, sidestepping the need for additional land, water, or pesticides. Each linear metre of Piñatex prevents substantial CO2 emissions, underscoring its role in combating climate change. 

Piñatex’s versatility extends across various industries, from fashion to upholstery. Its adoption by renowned brands like Hugo Boss, Nike, and H&M underscores its viability as a mainstream alternative to conventional leather. With its aesthetic appeal and ethical credentials, Piñatex embodies the ethos of contemporary fashion, where style converges with sustainability.

Piñatex’s accolades, including the Arts Foundation UK award for Material Innovation, reflect its transformative potential within the fashion landscape. As consumer demand for ethical and eco-friendly products continues to surge, Piñatex stands poised to redefine the paradigm of luxury and sustainability.

In the realm of sustainable fashion, Piñatex emerges as a symbol of ingenuity and responsibility.

Cover Image Courtesy: Ananas Anam/Website

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