Piñatex is a sustainable and versatile textile which is already used in the making of bags, footwear and furnishing
Carmen Hijosa was working in the design and manufacture of leather goods, when she started searching for a sustainable alternative. In the Philippines, she was introduced to a non-woven textile made from pineapple leaf fibers, which closely resembles leather and has been used by locals in clothes-making for generations. After discovering the possibilities of these natural fibers, she partnered with local weavers to experiment with transforming it into a mesh.
She founded the London-based start-up called Ananas Anam and in 2013, after 7 years of research and development, her dream came true when her team officially launched the innovative textile called Piñatex. It is a durable and degradable textile, made from the agricultural by-products of pineapple farming (thus requiring no use of additional land, water and fertilizers). It also weighs and costs significantly less than leather. For the creation of a square meter of Piñatex, around 480 leaves are needed. An estimated 40,000 tonnes of such pineapple waste is generated globally each year, which is typically just burned or left to rot.
Currently, the material features a non-biodegradable protective top layer for durability, although the company is working towards a natural alternative that would make the fabric fully biodegradable. Ananas Anam has been recognized within the fashion industry as a pioneer in the development of innovative and sustainable textiles.
· Extraction of fibers -a process called decortication-, done at the plantation
· Unification of the fibers into a non-woven mesh textile
· The resulting material is given a protective coating in a local factory in the Philippines
· The final transformation of the fiber mesh into Piñatex takes place in a textile finishing factory in Barcelona, Spain
Local factories in the Philippines separate strands and unite into a non-woven fabric
Pinãtex can be purchased on a roll of 1.55m in width, avoiding wastage caused by irregularly shaped leather hides
Shoe brand Camper and fashion brand Ally Capellino have developed prototypes with Piñatex