The Philippines’ golden fruit is about to change the world. Popularly known as the Barong Tagalog’s primary textile, pineapples are now being used as an alternative to leather.
London-based designer Carmen Hijosa works with Filipino farmers in creating vegan leather made from pineapple leaves. Her startup company Ananas Anam took about seven years to develop the material they call “Piñatex.” It is derived from processed pineapple leaves producing rolls of natural, non-woven textile. The fabric is not only breathable and customizable; it can also be easily stitched and printed on without sacrificing its strength, durability and flexibility.
Fashion merchandise proudly made of pineapple leather!
Usually thrown out or burned, pineapple leaves are essentially waste material. Carmen saw this as an opportunity that paved the way for an innovation made from the byproduct of agriculture, which lessens eco-waste produced by pineapple plantations. She gave Piñatex a fashionable upscale without harming the environment. This pineapple-based textile does not use any fertilizer nor does it need additional plantations for production. Its biomass can even be further utilized and converted into fertilizer.
Aside from being a sustainable and cheaper alternative to petroleum and animal-based materials, Piñatex also provides more farming jobs to Filipino farmers with the company’s central harvesting location here in the country.
Piñatex is being looked into by huge brands like Puma and Camper, as well as designers like Ally Capellino, Po-Zu, Ina Koelln and Taikka. At the moment, the textile is being sold in bulk to designers in four neutral colors: charcoal, cream, brown, and metallic gold. So far, Piñatex has been innovated into a variety of products such as handbags, shoes, laptop carriers and even upholstery.
While Piñatex started out as a leather alternative, Carmen believes that it has eventually become a product of its own uniqueness.