Piñatex is one of those sustainable leather alternatives that has earned a name for itself. It is made from cellulose fibers extracted from pineapple leaves, which is much (much) more ethical than real animal leather! With so many conscious consumers tilting toward animal leather alternatives, we’re here today to discuss one of the pioneers, Piñatex, aka pineapple leather.
What is Piñatex?
Did you know that the pineapple industry produces about 76 million tons of waste in pineapple leaves annually and harvests roughly 27.5 million tons of pineapples globally?
Ananas Anam created Pinatex™, a revolutionary alternative to leather made from natural fibers. It is one of the leather fabrics made from pineapple waste, benefitting several farmers harvesting pineapple. Pineapple leather has become an excellent alternative today as a growing number of slow fashion brands are opting for sustainable and vegan leather. Fashion industry leaders like Paul Smith and Hugo Boss have been using the Piñatex pineapple leather widely since its launch in 2015!
But what really is Piñatex pineapple leather? How is the leather alternative made, and, most importantly, is it truly sustainable? So let’s dive deep into this fabric today.
What are the properties of Piñatex?
Piñatex pineapple leather is a woven, coated material. It works well as a substitute for genuine animal skin leather. This vegan leather is unique as it is soft, inexpensive, flexible, and lightweight, and it can be easily printed, embossed, stitched, or embroidered.
Wait. There’s more. This leather alternative has the appearance and feels of genuine animal leather, but it is easy to care for, resilient, strong, and eco-friendly! Piñatex pineapple vegan leather is also available in a wide range of hues, designs, textures, and fashions. Additionally, pineapple leather is also water-resistant and versatile. But unfortunately, Piñatex is not entirely biodegradable despite being vegan leather with no harmful chemicals.
It is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive leather fabrics that are identical to premium leather but has a high resistance to pilling and wrinkling. However, when exposed to UV or direct sunlight, Piñatex pineapple leather loses longevity.
How is pineapple leather made?
Long threads from pineapple leaves are felted together to make the non-woven substrate known as Piñatex. These aren’t the leaves that protrude from the top of the pineapple fruit but the larger leaves of the plant itself, which are often discarded.
- The first step in making Piñatex pineapple leather is cultivating pineapple fruit plants. Since the environmental hazards of real animal leather are innumerable, growing fruits have a lower environmental impact.
- Farmers extract the fibers extracted from pineapple through a process known as decortication.
- The retrieved fibers are then cleaned and dried. The fibers are de-gummed once they have dried. Now, the pectin from the fibers is released. Since pectin stiffens the leaves, removing it helps in making the Piñatex pineapple leather more like cotton.
- The decortication by-product is further processed to create biogas or organic fertilizer.
- Both the extraction procedure and the resulting biomass generate additional revenue for farmers.
- By stinging thousands of needles into the fabric, the fibers produce a non-woven mesh. This process creates the Piñatex leather base.
- The raw Piñatex is now flown to Spain, where it undergoes additional processing to create a leather-like material. The leather alternative is now available to be shipped directly to brands and designers, with the surface and durability of leather.
Where is Piñatex fabric used?
Bags, shoes, clothing, and accessories are some of the most popular areas to find Piñatex pineapple. Thankfully, several clothing brands now use Piñatex fabrics to create dresses, shirts, and other items of apparel that are ethical and free from cruelty. In addition, this vegan leather is widely used not only in the slow fashion industry but also in homes for furniture, including sofas, cushions, drapes, and more.
The Piñatex pineapple leather fabric has a promising future as more and more people are getting rid of harmful fabrics in their wardrobes.
What are the benefits of pineapple leather?
Of course, the introduction of this real leather alternative has been great for the animals who’re killed for their lives for trendy bags, jackets, and shoes. Also, one of Piñatex’s added advantages is that when people buy this vegan leather alternative, it provides pineapple farmers in the Philippines with an additional source of reliable income. They’ve switched to producing most fruits and leaves now, thanks to reusing pineapple waste and the fabric being great for the environment and people.
Is pineapple leather a sustainable leather alternative?
Speaking of sustainable leather, Piñatex pineapple leather is a terrific choice. It has a very low environmental impact. However, unlike cow leather, as mentioned, it is not biodegradable. But, the material’s base, which includes mixed-up pineapple leaf fiber and corn-based polylactic acid, is biodegradable under controlled conditions. Considering the larger environmental concerns of conventional leathers like global warming, water scarcity, and energy consumption, Piñatex has a minimal impact. The pineapple leather uses less water, emits less greenhouse emissions, and involves fewer chemicals.
Sustainable fashion brands using Piñatex pineapple leather
Below are just a few of the many brands that use Piñatex pineapple leather, but before you continue, be sure you understand why fast fashion is terrible. And why choosing sustainable clothing brands is literally a given!
Svala is an LA-based vegan fashion company that uses materials free of PVC and cruelty to animals to create their exquisite handbags. We love this brand as Pinatex is one of their primary fabrics!
2. Hugo Boss
The first few fashion companies to use the Piñatex fabric was Hugo Boss. And it wasn’t long ago that the brand launched a range of vegan men’s shoes made from pineapple leaf-derived material.
Since the pineapple industry generates millions of tons of garbage each year, Piñatex, a sustainable leather alternative, can be chosen. It minimizes waste and doesn’t require any additional land for production. This will have long-term advantages for farmers, people who love ethical brands, and for the planet, of course.