As eco-conscious consumers continue to curb their carbon footprints, the market for sustainable products is rapidly expanding. From biodynamic wine to green beer that has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day, all our favorite luxuries are taking a leaf out of, well, plants! Leather is one material that’s steadily losing fans as the price increases and responsible livestock practices decline, yet many of the petroleum-based synthetic alternatives on the market consume just as much energy as traditional leather and are frequently manufactured and made into clothing within supply chains known for violations of workers’ rights.
How can you leave that all behind while also finding a great use for a natural agricultural by-product? Meet Piñatex, an award-winning microfiber made of the leaves left over after the fruit is harvested from the pineapple tree. Created by Ananas Anam, a production company in London’s Royal College of Art’s entrepreneurship program, Piñatex can be used to make garments, shoes, bags and even furniture and car upholstery. The shortcut involved in creating this fabric from pineapple leaf fiber is that it doesn’t need to be spun into thread first — the fiber is minimally processed into a leather-like cloth without weaving or knitting. Afraid of losing even the tiniest bit of swank? Worry not: It comes in gold as well as a range of neutral colors.
Ready to see it in action? Nae, a Portuguese vegan shoe brand whose name stands for “no animal exploitation” (and whose motto is “Fashion With Compassion”), makes a Piñatex sneaker that’s stylish, durable, comfortable and affordable. Check out this video with Piñatex founder and CEO Carmen Hijosa (who previously worked in luxury leather goods before creating this eco-friendly alternative), then ditch the leather and slip into something a little more pineapple. Er, comfortable.