Pineapples aren’t just good to eat.
A Spanish businesswoman is on a mission to convince us they’re also good to wear. Carmen Hijosa has created Pinatex, a textile woven from the long fibres in the fruit’s discarded leaves that she hopes will give the fashion industry a sustainable alternative to leather.
A clothes designer by trade and having abandoned leather on environmental grounds, she spent eight years developing her alternative textile.
“Because of their characteristics — they’re very fine and strong and flexible — my idea was what if I make a mesh with these fibres, not unlike what leather is,” Hijosa said.
“And that was the beginning of this new material.” Hijosa, who founded the company Ananas Anam to market Pinatex, works with pineapple farmers in the Philippines who harvest and strip the fibres, which are finished into Pinatex in Spain.
To make one square metre of Pinatex takes 460 leaves — but there’s no shortage of raw material. Global pineapple production topped 25mn tonnes in 2016, according to statistics portal Statistica.
Ananas Anam says the waste from the top 10 producer countries could theoretically replace over 50% of global leather output.
Models wear bike-style jackets by fashion brand Altiir made with Pinatex, a leather-like textile made from pineapples in London.
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