Piñatex®, from pineapple leaf to sustainable leather
Produced from pineapple leaves, Piñatex® is THE innovative natural leather par excellence that is revolutionising the contemporary textile industry.
The genesis of an appealing leather
Piñatex®. Perhaps this name rings a bell. You would be right: it has already been mentioned in a previous article about an unprecedented Hugo Boss shoe collection. It’s an entirely vegan leather with the finest social and ecological credentials.
It all began in the nineties, when Dr Carmen Hijosa, a leather goods expert, took it into her head to look for a sustainable alternative to animal leather, whose production and tanning were endlessly polluting the environment. While she was working in collaboration with Philippine industry, she was fascinated by the abundance of natural resources in the region and their use in traditional weaving, such as Barong Tagalog tunics.
With pineapple leaf, Carmen Hijosa saw the possibility of giving a new lease of life to agricultural produce waste and creating an evolving commercial industry for those who grow it.
A 100% green production process
But how do you get from a pineapple leaf to a leather that is better than the real thing? The leaves are removed during the harvest and their long fibres extracted via a decortication process, which is carried out on the plantation by the farming community or even mechanised using tools from the company Ananas Anam.
Once the leaves have been rid of their fibres, the remaining biomass can be used as a natural nutrient-rich fertiliser or as biofuel, so that nothing is wasted and no waste is produced. The pineapple leaf fibres are then degummed and undergo an industrial process to become a kind of non-woven textile that forms the base of Piñatex®. These rolls of non-woven mesh are then transported to Spain for specific finishing that gives Piñatex® its leather-like appearance, creating a soft and flexible yet highly resistant textile.
The finished textile is distributed directly to designers by Ananas Anam, who use it as a sustainable alternative to leather in shoes and fashion accessories, clothing, interior design and car upholstery.