Fibre Focus: Pineapple

Choosing a fibre from a design perspective can be challenging enough, but the fibre that a fabric is made from also has numerous environmental and social impacts. It can be difficult to work out the best option when selecting a fibre.

Introducing Fibre Focus, our fabric blog that breaks down the various impacts of a fibre from an environmental, social justice and design standpoint. It is important to also consider any potential impacts a fibre might have if it were to become more popular.

Pineapple:

Design advantages:
• Strong, long and durable fibres
• Derived from a wasted byproduct of the fruit industry
• Because it is a byproduct, the cost of producing pineapple fibre is negligible
• Pineapple fibre is vegan
• The fabric is easy to cut, stitch and dye
• Can be produced in a non-woven mesh

Design disadvantages:
• Pineapple trees take a long time to grow
• The fabric is expensive at the moment

Environmental impacts:
• Created from a byproduct of the fruit industry – so no additional raw materials or resources are required to produce fabric
• Natural, derived from pineapple leaves, not petrol
• Biodegradable, pineapple fabric will degrade back to nature instead of lurking in landfill releasing harmful greenhouse gasses
• Animal-free
• Pineapples grow well organically
• Pineapple leaves must be imported to countries where pineapples do not grow naturally, this uses air miles and fuel
• Closed-loop production is possible for this fabric

Social impacts:
• Provides a second stream of income for pineapple farmers
• Vegans can enjoy leather-like pineapple fabric
• Adding value to byproducts can provide income to farming communities

Positive potential impacts:
• Fewer chemical pesticides in the environment
• A decreased water footprint
• Decreased farmer dependence on large chemical companies
• Preservation of air, water and soil quality
• Extra income generated for pineapple farmers
• Decreased presence of animal leather in the textile marketplace

Negative potential impacts:
• Job loss for farmers in other fibre industries, and therefore a loss of income
• Job loss in chemical industry

So there you have it, a simple breakdown of pineapple farbic’s impacts that you can keep in mind when buying, sourcing or designing.

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