Another Week, Another Mind-Blowing Food Related Fabric Innovation

Pineapples, usually the kind of fruit you see printed on tees, tea-towels or cushion covers brightening up the modern interior of every single on-trend house and the closets of fashionistas circa 2013, are now hitting the fashion world in an entirely new way.  Introducing Piñatex, a pineapple related fabric that comes with the assurance that no pineapples are harmed during manufacturing.

Through seven years of research and development, Ananas Anam (a for-profit company with a positive social impact) has created an innovative, natural and sustainable non-woven textile called Piñatex™. A fabric made from the unused leaves of the pineapple plant. Piñatex fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest. Sustainability wise no extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce this wonderful new fabric. This fabric also provides the social benefits of an additional income stream for farmers while creating a vibrant new industry for pineapple growing countries. Ananas Anam currently support pineapple-farming communities in the Philippines. They hope that the development of this  new industry that will enhance the social network in rural areas as farmers will be able to sell fibres as a viable commercial operation, thus supporting the local economy and strengthening the countries exports.



Leaves to Fabric…How does it work?

The fibres that make Piñatex come from pineapple leaves. The fibres are extracted from the leaves during a process called decortication, which is done at the plantation by the farming community. The by-product of decortication is bio-mass, which can be further converted into organic fertiliser or bio-gas. Both the extraction of the fibers and the consequent bio-mass will bring added revenue stream to the  farming communities. The fibres then undergo an industrial process to become a nonwoven textile, which is the base of the material Piñatex. The final step in the making of Piñatex™ takes place at a textile finishing company in Spain, where the unique finishing process is done before being shipped all over the world.

PINEAPPLE_FABRIC A Leather That No-One Needs to Die for (pineapples included)

The result of this manufacturing process is a PETA approved leather substitute that is made with cradle to cradle design principles (something that is hard to come by in the unsustainable fossil-fuel-synthetics  saturated vegan leather market). For all the fabric nerds out there these are the specs:

  • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: Piñatex™ is strong, versatile, breathable, soft, light, flexible, and can be easily printed on, stitched and cut.
  • NATURAL & SUSTAINABLE: Piñatex™ is a by-product of the pineapple harvest, thus no extra water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce Piñatex.
  • VERSATILE: Various thicknesses, finishes and applications (under development). Piñatex™ is produced on 155cm width textile rolls.
  • TECHNICAL TESTS: Piñatex™ is tested according to ISO international standards for:
    ~Seam rupture
    ~Tear & tensile strength
    ~Light & colour fastness
    ~Water spotting
    ~Flexing endurance
    ~Abrasion resistance
    ~Resistance to ignition by cigarettes

The image above (from the Ananas Anam blog)  shows the versatility of the fibre as worked into a fab fashion forward design by Mayya Saliba for the GreenShowRoom catwalk at Berlin Fashion week. While the fabric is in early days yet, it is being embraced by some trailblazing sustainability and ethically minded designers. And while I couldn’t track down any specific items for sale in the fabric just yet (there are a few on the blog , there is plenty of chatter online about Piñatex items being available on the market soon. I would love to see this leather alternative available in a wide range of designs really soon. It’s a brilliant sustainable and ethical alternative that the market has been waiting for.

So how about it? Would you be into wearing your pineapples and eat them too? Share your thoughts on this innovation below.