Pineapples – The Future of Leather?
In recent years, a variety of artificial leather products have emerged on the global market as alternatives to conventional leather and its associated adverse environmental impacts.1 Currently, there are alternative leathers made from materials as diverse as apples, cork, mycelium and even pineapple.1 In particular, pineapple-based leather, called ‘Piñatex’, is a natural textile derived from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant and produced by the company Ananas Anam, a Certified B Corporation.2
According to the Ananas Anam website, “the use of pineapple leaf fiber, an agricultural waste product, provides the opportunity to build a scalable commercial industry for developing farming communities, with minimal environmental impact.”2 Since its inception, Piñatex has been used by more than 1,000 fashion brands such as H&M, Hugo Boss and Puma in various types of products, including clothing, handbags, accessories, shoes as well as upholstery.2,3
Unlike many other leather alternatives, Piñatex has moved past the development stage and has entered mass production, with many global partnerships and plans to launch an in-house collection.4 A qualitative review of leather alternatives found that Piñatex has many positive qualities, including its flexible shape and ability to support a variety of textures and finishes.4
As a leather alternative, Piñatex also has several environmental advantages. Since the raw materials are collected as a byproduct during the pineapple harvest, no additional environmental resources are required during this particular stage of production.2 Unlike conventional animal-based leather, Piñatex does not require tanning and therefore eliminates the immense environmental footprint caused by tanning practices.4 Additionally, Piñatex is naturally-derived, renewable and non-toxic.4
Despite the overall sustainability of Piñatex, two of its collections are coated with a water-based polyurethane resin, which is a type of plastic.5 Furthermore, while Piñatex production is widespread, many of its products on the market are currently unaffordable. For example, H&M sold a Piñatex jacket for $299, and Hugo Boss produced Piñatex limited edition sneakers for nearly $350.4
Overall, Piñatex represents a fashionable and more sustainable alternative to animal-based leather. However, in order to reach its full market potential, it must become more accessible for consumers.
To find out more about Piñatex, visit the Ananas Anam website or watch the following video:
- Opperskalski, S., Siew, S., Tan, E., & Truscott, L. (2020). Preferred fiber & materials market report 2020. Textile Exchange. Retrieved from: https://textileexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Textile-Exchange_Preferred-Fiber-Material-Market-Report_2020.pdf
- Ananas Anam. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from: https://www.ananas-anam.com/about-us/
- Pashkevych, K.L., Kolosnichenko, O.V., Veklych, A.M., & Ovdiienko, T.A. (2019). Current trends of the use of eco-materials in the design of light industry products. Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design. Art and Design, 3. Retrieved from: https://er.knutd.edu.ua/bitstream/123456789/14683/1/artdes_2019_N3_P020-027.pdf
- Qua, F.J.S. (2019). (Im)material: A qualitative study on sustainable materials for design through a comparative review of leather and its modern alternatives. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from: https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/122335
- Ananas Anam. (n.d.). FAQs. Retrieved from: https://www.ananas-anam.com/faqs/