Pineapple Leather May Be The Sweet Future Of Fashion

Harvest waste has never looked so chic.
05/03/2016 03:30pm ET

People who have an obsession with pineapples, rejoice. You can now wear your favorite tropical fruit in the subtlest and chicest of ways.

Two words: Pineapple leather.

A photo posted by Piñatex (@pinatex_official) on

That's right, those cream retro handbags above are made with a pineapple-based "leather" called Piñatex, manufactured from the leaves of a pineapple plant (not the actual golden juicy fruit).

Carmen Hijosa, a Spanish leather goods designer, developed the tropical textile after working as a consultant in the Philippines. In search of an alternative for leather, she came across the Barong Tagalog, a formal garment normally worn by Filipino men and made with the fibers of pineapple leaves.

Its fabric was both fine and strong -- a perfect combination for designing the perfect leather product. That's when the idea for Piñatex was born.

J. Robles Photography via Getty Images
A traditional Barong Tagalog is made of up pineapple leaf fibers that are woven into deliciously intricate designs.

Pineapple-based leather is not easy to make, but since it's a by-product of existing pineapple harvests, its environmental impact is relatively low.

"This really means that in order to [make] Piñatex, a textile, we don't have to use any land, water, pesticides [or] fertilizers," Hijosa told Fast Co. "We are actually taking a waste material and 'upscaling' it, meaning that we're giving it added value."

And since the faux-leather textile is strikingly similar to the real thing, it gives any of its finished products a classically cool look without all the guilt.

Through her company, Ananas Anam, Hijosa works with Filipino plantation farmers to extract the fibers from pineapple leaves, which would normally be left on the floor to rot after the fruit is harvested. Then, the fibers are sent to a textile factory to be mechanically and chemically fused together, similar to the way felt is made, and turned into a non-woven fabric.

The finished fabric is sold in bulk to other clothing or designer brands in four wardrobe-friendly colors: charcoal, natural (cream), brown and metallic gold.

While big brands like Puma and Camper have created prototypes of their own designs with the pineapple-based textile, international companies are already selling a variety of products including handbags, boots, flats and laptop carriers.

Po Zu
Ello V Natural Piñatex, £90.00 (about $90)
PiñaBook 13" Case, €119 (about $137)
Ananas Anam/Piñatex
Who would've thought that these fibers once sat in a pineapple farm?

Since the production of Piñatex involves no harming of animals (or pineapples!) whatsoever, it's a vegan and environmentally friendly fashion choice that turns waste into seriously cute wear. And this game-changing textile has not gone unnoticed.

This spring, London's Royal College of Arts announced Hijosa as the winner of their 2016 Arts Foundation award for Material Innovation, while PETA UK honored Hijosa with a 2015 Innovation Award during their annual Fashion Awards.

And if the pieces that have debuted so far are hinting at a future in pineapple-based fashion, we're convinced that it's going to be sweet.

Met Gala Red Carpet 2016