Imagine gorgeous new shoes that look like real leather but wait! They are ethically made with minimum ecological footprint! Impossible? No, you can have these shoes already today thanks to the material such as Piñatex by Ananas Anam.
The idea to replace real leather for the synthetic one isn’t new. Companies have been trying for decades to find a way how to produce cheaper real leather looking material with similar quality. However, the vast majority of “fake” leather or “vegan” leather is made out of oil-based materials such as PVC or polyurethane. Although synthetic leather doesn’t leave a bloody trail of the killed animals behind, its production isn’t often environmentally friendly plus this material is hardly recyclable. Luckily there are many clothing innovators who are more and more daring to take a different path and they do not hesitate to use unusual input materials!
The founder of Ananas Anam Ltd. and the “mother” of Piñatex is the Spanish leather industry specialist, Dr. Carmen Hijosa. The turning point in her career came in the 90s when she traveled as a consultant to Philippines. Carmen was shocked by the devastating environmental impact of the mass leather production and the chemical tanning and she decided to act. However, thanks to her expertise she knew that the already known synthetic alternatives cannot solve the problem.
Piñatex is the result of seven years of intensive development based on the concept of using the fiber from pineapple leaves. These leaves are a waste product of the agriculture and therefore no additional resources are needed to obtain them.
Since the beginning the creators of Piñatex followed the principles of circular economy and the cradle-to cradle design.
The life cycle of Piñatex proceed roughly as follows:
- After harvesting, the separated pineapple leaves are mechanically comminuted into fibers (decortication)
- Then the fibers are transformed into a non-woven fabric which is the basis of Piñatex
- After the industrial treatment, a new leather-like material is created and directly sold by the manufacturer to the design companies
- Since the material is biodegradable, the retired Piñatex products can re-enter the production as a source again in the future
Piñatex is used, for example, to make shoes, clothing or furniture covers. The manufacturers praise Piñatex as a soft, flexible and durable material that looks extraordinarily chic!
In Minimum Waste, we have Piñatex clutches from the Spanish brand Maravillas bags. Come to try, see and touch them. :-)