Leather is a durable, water-resistant and sturdy material with which to make shoes, bags and all manner of sartorial goodies – but it can be expensive and is a no-no for many vegans who would sooner wear banana skins on their feet.
Well, we’re not suggesting banana skin shoes – you’d be slipping and sliding all over the place, but there is a rather more appealing fruity alternative on the market… A new non-woven textile made from pineapples. (This is not an April Fool!)
This tropical fruit has recently become a fashionable home and clothing trend, with many t-shirts now adorned with the spiky print and pineapple ornaments gracing many a side table. But this is no fad: the all-natural and sustainable material known as Piñatex™, created by textile company Ananas Anam, is the product of seven years of research and development undergone by Dr Carmen Hijosa to create a natural textile from waste plant fibres.
Until now, leather alternatives have been made from plastic – which, as we know, is not a sustainable or environmentally friendly material. So, Pinatex is a welcome solution and is already being used by many ethical fashion brands such as Bourgeois Boheme, Nae Vegan and Po-Zu.
Piñatex™ has a slightly more distressed look than traditional leather and can be used to make furnishings, fashion items, accessories and even car seat covers.
This new use for pineapple leaves which, up until this point, were either burnt or left to rot, is likely to provide new additional income for farmers and a vibrant new industry for pineapple growing countries.
What’s more, the leaves needed to create Pinatex are a by-product of the pineapple harvest, so no extra water, land or pesticides are required for their production.
Making Piratex is a complicated process, which starts in the Philippines and ends in Spain. First, fibres are extracted from pineapple leaves at the plantation, using a process called ‘decortication’ before undergoing an industrial process to become a non-woven textile.
It takes around 16 pineapples to create one square metre of Pinatex, which costs around 30% less than leather and is far more lightweight.
The natural, vegan alternative to leather has ben certified as ‘Vegan Fashion Label’ by PETA and no pineapples are harmed in the making!