You've heard of pleather or PVC clothing, but leather made from pineapples?! Piñatex has found a way of using tropical fruit waste to create fashionable, durable, and even biodegradable faux-leather products. The key is processing the pineapple leaves in such a way where the fibers can be transformed into different textiles mimicking the most desired fashions.
Spanish designer Carmen Hijosa created Piñatex after a business visit to the Philippines. Seeing how leather tanneries operate inspired her to find a more sustainable and cruelty-free alternative. Women in the Philippines are known to wear the barong tarong, or traditional shirts woven with pineapple leaf fibers, the product which launched a five year research and development mission resulting in the faux-leather product in Piñatex products today.
Besides the obvious perk of not using or exploiting any animals to create the product, some of the other impressive features include its environmentally friendliness and dedication to the local labor force. Each fashion accessory is biodegradable and can be composted with it is time to discard. The entire process of harvesting and processing the leaves can be done on the plantations, providing extra work to local individuals. The "bio-mass" produced from processing the leaves can also be used or sold as fertilizer, meaning an extra income source for workers.
The only lingering curiosity I have is whether Piñatex products smell like pineapples, because that would make this already astonishing creation that much more amazing.
Photo credit: Piñatex