You might hardly unimaginable connecting leftovers with fashion. For example, discarded parts of coconuts and pineapples can be made into durable artificial leather.
Filipinos use pineapples to make a fabric fiber called piña. Piña is Spanish and means pineapple.
Know your fabric: Piña fabric from pineapple
Piña fabric (pronounced as pi-NYAH) is an indigenous woven fabric derived from pineapple leaves, specifically the Spanish Red pineapple variety due to its notable tensile strength. It is one of the most well-known traditional textiles used in the Philippines, and primarily used by Filipino aristocrats from as early as the 19th century when the country was a Spanish colony.
As the plant takes only 18 months to mature, piña leaves and the production of the leaf fibre is viewed as a sustainable source of fabric. The leaves are considered agricultural waste during the harvesting of the pineapple fruit. Piña fibre does not require any chemical refinement and are also biodegradable. It’s no wonder that the use of pineapple leaves as a sustainable alternative to leather is also gaining traction in the global textile industry.
The sustainability of piña
The process of planting and harvesting pineapple only takes 18 months, and requires to no tilling or fertilising, or even additional land or water to grow, unlike cotton. During the decortication as well as the scraping of the layers to obtain the fibres, any leftover plant waste can be used as fertiliser or fuel, and food for livestock. Even finished piña garments are biodegradable as most don’t have any artificial dyes or any chemicals added during the process.
Despite the fact that much of the process in extracting the fibre and weaving remains to be quite complex and laborious, the production of piña is proving to be a great example as a cradle-to-cradle material. As the pineapple fruit itself is harvested, the leaves are considered agricultural waste.
Piña fibre is also emerging as an alternative to leather as more and more consumers switch to more environment- and animal-friendly options.