Carmen Hijosa has created Pinatex, a textile woven from the long fibres in the fruit's discarded leaves that offers a sustainable alternative to leather.
What It Is: Ms. Hijosa, who founded the company Ananas Anam to market Pinatex, works with pineapple farmers in the Philippines who harvest and strip the fibres, which are finished into Pinatex, a mesh-like material, in Spain.
To make one square metre of Pinatex takes 460 leaves. Global pineapple production topped 25 million tonnes in 2016. Ananas Anam says the waste from the top 10 producer countries could theoretically replace over 50 percent of global leather output.
Applications: Since its commercial launch in 2015, Pinatex has been used by about 500 manufacturers, including vegan sneakers sold by fashion house Hugo Boss. "When they touch it, people think its real leather,” said creative director Timothy Turner-Sutton at Altiir. His brand’s biker-style jackets are made from it. “When it gets wet it dries like leather and it behaves like leather in every way except it's completely sustainable."
As more high profile designers and celebrities opt for either sustainable or vegan fashion, there’s a growing demand for leather alternatives.