Could Pineapples Replace Leather?

I love nothing more than reading and learning about ground-breaking discoveries that could have an impact on the fashion industry. The production of leather is a big problem because of the impact it has on the environment. If you are vegan or concerned about the ethical implications of wearing leather then you will know about ‘pleather’, leather-look and faux leather alternatives. However, as these are PVC based they are entirely unsustainable. This is where pineapples step in as they are what is used to make Pinatex.

Pineapple on a pink background

Pink Pineapple Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

How is Pinatex made?

Pinatex was developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a Spanish leather goods expert who was appalled by the impact of leather production on the environment back in the 1990s in the Philippines. She was also horrified at the petroleum-based alternatives often used.  However, while she was there she noticed that some clothing was made from pineapple fibres so she researched how this could be used more widely.

Pinatex is made by extracting fibres from the leaves of pineapples that have been harvested. These are then washed and left to dry naturally in the sun. They are then purified which creates a fluffy fibre. This fluffy fibre (PALF) is mixed with corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) and undergoes a process that creates a non-woven mesh called Pinafelt. Pinafelt is the base for all Pinatex products. The Pinafelt is then sent to Italy or Spain where it is finished.

The Pinafelt is coloured using Global Organic Textile Standard pigments and given a coating that adds durability, strength, and water resistance. A foil is heat pressed on to create the Metallic collection and a high solid PU transfer coating is used to create Pinatex Performance.

To produce one square metre of Pinatex if takes 480 leaves from roughly 16 pineapple plants. This weighs less and costs less than leather. And, as it’s produced in a roll there’s less waste than from animal leather. Obviously one advantage of using Pinatex is that it replaces the use of animal leather.

Is it biodegradable?

Unfortunately Pinatex fabric does not biodegrade as it contains polylactic acid which is a bio-plastic, along with polyurethane resin coating. Bio-plastics are seen as being an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum based plastics but they don’t easily breakdown.

However, if something is made from Pinatex it has a greater amount of natural material than a fully plastic item. The more that by-products can be repurposed the better for the environment.

Brands that use Pinatex

Mashu is an accessories label specialising in handbags. Designed in London and made by expert artisans in Greece. Founded by London based designer Ioanna Topouzoglou.

“Mashu is committed to drive change through best practice, ensuring our environmental impact is as small as possible through our production, materials and entire supply chain. We believe a good product is judged not only by its looks but equally through the way it was created.”

The brand uses a range of vegan, sustainable and recycled materials to created its collection. Some of those include Desserto (vegan leather made from cactus), Mashu vegan suede (made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled polyester), cork, recycled denim from The New Denim Project, Bio Veg (vegan leather made from made with recycled polyester from plastic bottles and bio polyols), deadstock satin, hemp, cotton, re-purposed wood and of course Pinatex.


















I have been following Mashu on Instagram for a while now and all of their bags are stunning. They have a modern, Art Deco look about then which really sets them apart from other styles. Because these bags have such a chic style they are timeless and the high quality ensures you will use them for years to come.

I love the brand’s whole ethos and believe that we should support those who are working to make a change.



    • lifesacatwalk
      October 19, 2021 / 3:44 pm

      Thank you!

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