Pinatex? PinaWHO? Ever heard of pineapple leather? The ultimate guide to sustainable and cruelty free vegan leather.
What Is Pineapple Leather?
Honestly, I had never heard of pineapple leather, also known as Pinatex until very recently. If someone had told me, their shoes were made of pineapples, I may have laughed thinking it was some weird joke that I really didn’t understand! How can such a sweet, delicious fruit be made into clothing? Well it isn’t the actual sweet part of the fruit, pineapple leather is made from the leaves which makes a lot more sense!
Upon research, I’ve learnt so much about about how pineapple can be used in ways other than just cooking. Just to give you some background, Pinatex was developed over many years of research and development by Dr. Carmen Hijosa. Carmen saw that the use of pineapple leaf fibre which is typically an agricultural waste product, provided the opportunity to build an industry for developing farming communities, with only slight environmental impact.
How was Pineapple Leather Discovered?
This all started back in the 1990, when Dr Carmen Hijosa was consulting on the leather export trade.
“Shocked at the environmental impact of mass leather production and chemical tanning she realised this could not continue, but knew that PVC alternatives were not the solution. She was driven to research a sustainable alternative. Inspired by the abundance of natural resources, including the use of plant fibres in traditional weaving such as the delicate Barong Tagalog garments, Carmen sought to create a new, non-woven textile that could be commercially produced, provide positive social and economic impact and maintain a low environmental footprint throughout its life cycle.” – Ananas Anam
How Is Pineapple Leather Made?
Piñatex is created by binding the long fibres from pineapple leaves together to create a non-woven substrate. These leaves are normally left to rot after fruit is harvested, but Pinatex repurposes them to make leather. The leaves from the pineapple are cut up first as well as layered, before they go through the industrialization process. Pinatex can be dyed any colour and has a weirdly close resemblance to animal leather.
Is Pinatex Biodegradeable?
Pinatex unfortunately isn’t 100% biodegradable, as it is petroleum based, however Aananas-Anam are working on it. On the flip side to that, Pinatex is created from pineapple leaves that are the byproduct of existing agriculture. Their use also creates an additional income stream for farming communities.
Why Should We Use Leather Alternatives?
There are a number of reasons why consumers and companies are trying to find alternatives to leather. The one that first springs to mind is animal suffering for their skin. However, as well as leather posing an ethical issue, it does also cause an environmental one. The process that stops animal skin from rotting to turn it into leather, means that huge amounts of toxic chemicals are used. These toxic chemicals generally end up in water supplies as well as soil.
In comparison to real leather, Piñatex is a cruelty-free and sustainable option.
What Can Be Made From Pinatex?
Over the years, Pinatex has gained huge popularity. Not only is Pinatex used in clothing, you’ll find it in shoes, watches, accessories and even home furnishings! YES, I said home furnishings. I can’t wait to see what else Pinatex will be used for in the future. Here’s just a few brands that are using Pinatex:
- H&M – They have launched their conscious exclusive collection, which has introduced the use of Pinatex in their clothing. They have also launched two other materials, which they’ve never used before. One of them being Bloom foam which is a flexible foam that comes from algae biomass. The second is Orange Fibre, which is a silk like fabric that comes from citrus juice by products.
- Votch – This is a London based vegan friendly watch company. They have a range of watches, where the straps are fully constructed from Pinatex.
- Tamasine Osher Design – London based artisan furniture company that creates one-off and limited edition bold pieces. They have created an incredible spider chair, which is made from Pinatex.
- Hugo Boss – This German Luxury Fashion Brand have designed a vegan shoe range, which are made from Pinatex and they are 100% vegan. They come in a number of colours, go check out the range.
It’s amazing that there are so many vegan alternatives in the age that we live in, and I’m determined to try them all out! If you want to understand a bit more about vegan fashion, go check out this blog.
Let me know in the comments below your favourite vegan leather..