Vegan leather has been all the rage recently, and who can blame people? It’s cheaper, better for the environment, leaves you with a light heart, and can be incredibly soft!
Sustainability is on everyone’s mind, but we don’t all know how to approach it. Now there’s a new kind of vegan leather on the market: pineapple leather, Pinatex for short.
What is it?
Pinatex started in the Philippines, where the pineapple industry is huge: 10% of food exports are pineapples! Every year there are 13 tons of waste from this industry alone.
The company behind Pinatex, Ananas Anam, has taken one of our favorite fruits and created a leather from its leaf fibers, a part of the pineapple that is usually thrown away. That’s sustainability at its finest!
Ananas, in many languages, means pineapple, and—true to their name—they are making pineapple-inspired waves!
Ever year, 40,000 tons of pineapple waste alone is made up of pineapple leaves, either left to rot or be burned. Obviously, burning waste is a large contributor to air pollution, so reusing pineapple leaves to make leather fabrics really benefits the environment.
On top of that, they make sure to process the leaves at the farm so they can reduce any unnecessary CO2 emissions.
Pro- or Anti- animal leather?
Many who are pro-animal leather might say that it’s natural and not made from materials like plastic, so clearly it’s better for the environment.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about animal leather: during the tanning process over 350 different toxic heavy metals and chemicals are used.
Obviously these can cause a lot of harm to not just the environment but also the workers.
Pineapple leather is sustainable, naturally-sourced and cruelty-free. It uses no heavy metals, chemicals or toxic substances in its production process, and it even uses less water and other resources to minimize its impact to the environment.
How’s it made?
The process of making it is surprisingly simple, in fact.
It starts with decortication: breaking the leaves down and extracting their fibers. Then, they degum the fibers, which have some sticky residue leftover from the decortication process. After that, they do what’s called “meshing” – turning the fibers into a material that forms the base of pineapple leather.
All of this is done at the farm, but the final step is the finishing, which takes an artisan hand: craftsmanship developed over hundreds of years.
They then send it to Spain for the finishing process. It’s where “it gives it the final colors, look, feel, and also a protective surface that helps make pineapple leather water- and abrasion-resistant.”
The social impact
It’s also good for the farmers, giving them another way to make money and produce less waste, and putting money back into small, locally-run businesses. With the advent of Coronavirus, many are finding it difficult to stay in business, so this is a really good time for us to take a look at how we can help the environment.
Green fashion is a good place to start!
But where can I find it?
Now you might think: wow, this must be so new, there’s probably nothing out there that actually uses pineapple leather. Recently, pineapple leather is being used more and more in fashion, for anything from small watch straps to big jackets; it’s super versatile!
There’s even plans to use it in cars for leather seats and interior décor.
More and more brands are jumping on the bandwagon, and every step forward is a step forward for the environment and the local community.
You might also question its durability: vegan leather is thought to be less durable than animal leather.
Big brands like Hugo Boss and Puma, who have also picked up on this trend, have already done quite a few tests, and have started using it for shoes and boots.
It doesn’t get much more durable than that!
- Other prominent brands like MARAVILLAS BAGS by Designer Cristina Bussman have switched out some of their leather for pineapple leather.
- If you’re looking for high fashion, Altiir makes exclusive designs of the highest quality – and have a great pineapple leather leather jacket collection.
- DAN & MEZ are quite famous for their watches, and chose pineapple leather above other vegan materials because:
“Vegan does not necessarily mean eco-friendly. But they are equally important and pineapple leather meets both criteria.”
This is one chapter of green fashion that everyone should be reading – an initiative that everyone should be looking into.
There are some brands that are using it now, but it definitely has so much more to give! Think of a future where Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci shoes, Bottega Veneta wallets, and Marc Jacobs fashion is made from Pinatex: the quality remains the same because of their artistry, but they are now also sustainably sourced, green, and guilt-free.