The clothes of the future could be made from pineapples and bananas

pineapple 2019

Bali, Indonesia (Artem Bali, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


If the first thing you think of when you hear about clothes made from food is the meat dress Lady Gaga wore to the 2010 MTV Awards, you’re probably not alone. But there’s a lot more to this idea than headline-grabbing gimmicks.

Fashion is big business. So much so that if the fashion industry were a country, it would be pushing for a place in the top 10 for GDP, with annual sales of $1.3 trillion.

Image: Statista

One of the biggest trends in the world of apparel is fast fashion – mass market, affordable clothing with a high turnover of styles, to keep customers buying. It’s an approach that’s working in terms of numbers. Shoppers buy 60% more clothes than they did 15 years ago, and have doubled the rate at which they dispose of them.

From cotton to leather, the creation of fashion’s raw materials consumes vast amounts of resources and generates huge amounts of pollution and emissions. There are man-made fibres, such as polyester, which are derived from fossil fuels, and around 20% of the world’s wastewater comes from the fashion industry. It also produces huge amounts of microfibres, which eventually find their way into the ocean.

It’s no surprise there is a growing call for more ethically and environmentally responsible clothing. Step forward, Pinatex – an alternative to leather, made from pineapple leaf fibre. Although it is biodegradable, many of the treatments Pinatex receives in the manufacturing process are not. The resins that coat the fibres, for example, are petrochemical-based. But by using a by-product of pineapple agriculture, it is more environmentally friendly than traditional leather and plastic-based alternatives.

 

Bananas are also getting in on the act. Musa fibre is a durable material made from the stem of the banana tree – it’s also known as banana fibre. Biodegradable, very strong yet capable of being spun and woven, musa fibre is already in use as an alternative to traditional textiles. It is comprised of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, and bonded using natural gums. It has been used in Japan for centuries.

The clothing company Hugo Boss has a range of Pinatex footwear, while fashion designer Stella McCartney has pioneered the use of a mushroom-based leather alternative called Mylo.

Other food-based clothing and textile innovations include:

Vegeatextile

This EU-funded initiative has taken the wine industry’s leftovers and turned them into Vegea, a leather alternative. The leather-like substance is, unsurprisingly, the colour of red wine and a Vegea dress by the designer Tiziano Guardini was exhibited at London’s V&A Museum.

Image: Vegea

Orange Fiber

The Italian fashion label Salvatore Ferragamo has produced a range of clothes made from a viscose-like material made from oranges. The company behind it, called Orange Fiber, use peel discarded in the production of orange juice.

Image: Orange Fiber

Agraloop

Waste from food crops such as oilseed hemp and oilseed flax straw as well as pineapple leaves, banana trunks and sugar cane bark, has been turned into packaging, fertilizer, biofuel and a new range of bio-friendly fibre. The company behind it won the Global Change Award.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

European creativity and digital economy are drowning in a copyright swamp

Venezuelans brave torrential border river, face exploitation, abuse – UN urges greater protection

The global economy is woefully unprepared for biological threats. This is what we need to do

IQ scores have been falling for decades, new study finds

Service Engineer Intern – 1991

The entire Australian state of New South Wales is in drought

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

Scientists are using machine learning to unlock the mysteries of long-dead languages

How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

Livelihoods of millions in East and Southeast Asia at risk from Swine Fever epidemic

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

Constitutional Committee breakthrough offers ‘sign of hope’ for long-suffering Syrians

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

The European Union is strengthening its partnership with Senegal with €27.5 million

“16+1” Cooperation injects new vigor into China-Europe cooperation

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal

ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

UN chief welcomes formation of unity government in Madagascar

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

Trump wants to implicate China in US attacks against global order

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

We must help developing countries escape commodity dependence

We can save the Earth. Here’s how

Advancing multilateralism goes ‘hand-in-hand’ with work of the UN

How the Middle East is suffering on the front lines of climate change

Populist Eurosceptics helped by Trumpists seriously threaten the EU edifice

‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis

Skills, not job titles, are the new metric for the labour market

Youth platforms call on German Government to break down legal barriers for young volunteers and pupils

It’s time to switch to a four-day working week, say these two Davos experts

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

New UN report launched to help ratchet up action to combat climate crisis

Guterres: Security Council’s African alliances ‘needed and appreciated more than ever’

These are the world’s best universities by subject

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Girls still being treated as aliens in medicine in the 21st century

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

Mother of all mergers between Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram: EU Data Privacy restrictions against Facebook’s imperialistic plans

Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget

Two out of every five American couples now meet online

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

Everybody for himself in G20 and IMF

How a more integrated approach could help to end energy poverty

The 5 biggest challenges cities will face in the future

Where labour costs the most (and least) in the European Union

Is Eurozone heading for disinflation?

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

FROM THE FIELD: Changing world, changing families

Marking international day, UN experts call for urgent action to end racial discrimination, in wake of New Zealand anti-Muslim attack

UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s