Leather is an item a lot of people consider an essential in their wardrobes. However due to high demand, leather is becoming less sustainable for the environment and more expensive for us.

With education on the rise and sustainability starting to take more precedence in the fashion industry, more consumers are realising the impact of their choices and how they influence the world around us. One of the most recent examples of this newfound education is leather.

The leather industry is a major contributor to climate change. The water used in tanneries is contaminated with hazardous chemicals and is thrown back into nearby waterways; creating ecological imbalances, loss of agricultural production and low quality drinking water for many. Tanneries are also responsible for releasing pollutants such as ammonia and hydrogen sulphide into the air, posing a major threat to our precious atmosphere. Once leather is treated, it makes the once biodegradable textile completely unable to degrade, thus creating more harmful waste.

This leaves us with a predicament. How can we keep our social conscience clean yet still fuel our addiction for leather shoes? Fear not friends, it can be done.

Enter trailblazing textile company - Ananas Anam. These guys have created an alternative to leather that is natural, low cost, durable and biodegradable. Launched under the name Piñatex, the innovative textile is created using the leaves from pineapples that are usually left to rot post-harvest.

The best part about this new textile is that it costs no more to produce and the by-product of the natural fibres can be reused as fertiliser and given back to the farmers, feeding the product life-cycle again. Piñatex also has the amazing opportunity to increase employment for these farming communities, as the demand for these natural fibres begin to grow… Basically a win-win for everybody.

The process to create this new product is quite fascinating. The fibres from the pineapple plant are extracted from the leaves and transformed into a nonwoven textile through mechanical, chemical and thermical processes turning it into a leather-like fabric. In comparison to leather, Piñatex’s physical properties are extremely comparable and in some cases, dare we say it, better than the real thing. The textile proves to be strong, versatile, breathable, soft, light and flexible.

So far, Piñatex has been used to produce a variety of fantastic products including bags, shoes and even furnishings. This new textile technology has gained so much attention from industry leaders that Puma and Camper are showing a keen interest to collaborate with the producers.

With these exciting partnerships in the works, it will be a sweet victory for the environment and humankind to see this cruelty-free leather in stores and storming the streets soon.

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