Category Archives: International Fashion

Look out leather!

THE FUTURE IS PINEAPPLE… 

It all began in the 90’s (like most great things) when Dr. Carmen Hijosa took a business trip from her home country of Spain to the Philippines. Hijosa used to work for 15 years as an industry consultant for the design and manufacturing of (dun dun dun) leather products. After seeing the significant issues that accompany the leather industry- vegan and animal alike- Hijosa left the dark side and began exploring leather alternatives.

Hijosa, aware that PVC alternatives contain petroleum, knew that vegan leather was not the solution. Also aware of the environmental damages caused by the tanning process used on animal leathers she realized there was a niche to be filled and thus began her journey to create Piñatex.

Inspired by the Filipino national garb the barong tagalog, a woven formal dress made with pineapple threads, she began to consider how clothing can be made from other materials. She formed the company Anansas Anam Ltd. that patented a process that extracts pineapple fibres from leaves and turns them into a leather-like material now known as Piñatex.

Photo-by-David-Stewart-for-Wired-2-1600x2347
 Image credit: Piñatex:  Dr. Carmen Hijosa (above)

In it’s early days Ananas Anam Ldt. supplied brands such as Puma and Camper and made its way to car upholstery through Porsche, BMW, Mercedez Benz, and the always innovative, Tesla. Now Piñatex has hit runways and made a name for itself in the slow fashion movement. Pineapple leather was featured in the 2017 Milan fashion week by collection by Laura Strambi, among others throughout the fashion industry.

#MadeFromPiñatex Jacket by Laura Strambi    Fall/Winter 2017/18 Jacket - https://www.laurastrambiyoj.com/presentation-fall-wintwer-2017-2018Image credit: Olga Mai  (Milan Fashion Week 2017 Laura Strambi’s “Frozen Garden”)

Laura Strambi Fall 2017 - Milan Fashion Week. Clique e confira a coleção completa. Photo by @manuluizeImage credit: Olga Mai  (Milan Fashion Week 2017 Laura Strambi’s “Frozen Garden”)

Pineapple leather is cheaper than leather products for manufacturers to purchase because it’s derived entirely from a waste product adding no extra cost to farmers. Piñatex is created from the skins of leaves and discards only 30% waste. It’s difficult to call this waste however, as the biomass produced after creating the Piñatex fibres is later used as fertilizer or sold for profit and gives an extra source of income to the farmers.

pinatex1.jpgImage credit: Pinterest

There is no extra land, water, or chemicals being used in the production of Piñatex and the leaves being discarded by farmers would otherwise add to the estimated 40,000 tons of pineapple waste generated globally each year. As Hijosa states “… we are actually taking a waste material and ‘upscaling’ it, meaning that we’re giving it added value.” 

Related imageImage credit: Pinterest

As humans we should all care about the planet. Piñatex has a huge advantage over animal derived leathers as there are no harmful chemicals used in the process to make pineapple leather. Hijosa promises a ‘Cradle to Cradle’ philosophy which means that the entire process is natural and eco-friendly from beginning to finish.

Pineapple leather is biodegradable but has a non-biodegradable protective top layer for durability- Piñatex is currently working towards a natural alternative.The fabric is breathable and flexible, and can be printed on and stitched. It’s also available to purchase as a roll so as to avoid the waste caused by irregularly shaped leather hides.

Vegan1Image credit: Google Images  

It is true that Piñatex will never have the same feel as animal leather but it is not trying to copy this- it’s a unique product all on it’s own. Much like formica when it first came into being, it looked ugly but eventually became a product by itself with it’s own authentic look and feel- Hijosa anticipates the same outcome for Piñatex. She explains it’s not supposed to look like leather- it’s supposed to look like Piñatex. (4)

Dans la famille invention de génie, je demande la nouvelle alternative canon au cuir, 100 % végane à base de fibres d’ananas. De l’espagnol « piña » qui veut dire ananas, Piñatex® est le fruit (ha, ha) de longues années de recherche et séduit de plus en plus de créateurs mode, chaussures, horlogerie, et même design.
 Image credit: Pinterest
The durability of leather is hard to match though, and many people who use vegan leathers complain that the material lacks the same longevity of animal leather. However according to the ISO international standards for: seam rupture, tear & tensile, strength, light, color fastness, water spotting, flexing endurance, and abrasion resistance Piñatex passes every test.
El cuero a base de fibras de piña que revolucionará el mundo textil | VICE | Colombia
 Image credit: Pinterest 

Piñatex has style, versatility, durability, and will likely become a natural part of our lives. It’s not unlikely that pineapple leather will seep from the runways and luxury cars into our daily lives. In a few more years you may find yourself sitting in an airplane only to realize all the seats are made from pineapples.

Look out leather- the future is pineapple!

Written by: Abby Caroline Teeter

 

Sources:

  • https://erebusstyle.com/blogs/news/alexandra-groover-ancestral-aw16
  • https://www.thefashionatlas.com/atlas/photography/settimana-della-moda-laura-strambi-frozen-garden.php?h=1

Featured Image Credit: @scanart 

https://www.instagram.com/scanart/

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