The founders of three plant-based textile companies have joined forces to create the FIBRAL Material Alliance. The organisation aims to bring together companies and individuals working with both traditional and innovative plant-based fibres.
Dr Carmen Hijosa from Ananas Anam, Hannes Schoenegger from Bananatex, and Ricardo Garay of Regenerate Fashion established the international alliance in response to the environmental crisis facing the textile industry. Currently, the majority of fibres are either derived from fossil fuels or rely on destructive intensive agricultural systems.
FIBRAL intends to create change by bringing together producers making fibres from renewable, Earth-friendly resources — these include pineapple leaves, hemp, abaca, and agricultural wastes. According to the organisation, these materials have so far been neglected in favour of biosynthetic materials and manmade cellulosics, but by embracing them it could be possible to “bring forward the next paradigm of materials”.
“FIBRAL is the result of a fellowship of like-minded individuals whose vision, work and life purpose is to inspire change by bringing awareness to plant-based fibres, regenerative systems, local and indigenous communities and culture, and the importance of biodiversity,” said Hijosa. “With this alliance we wish to activate a sense of community, sharing and collaborating by focussing on plant-based solutions, in particular the potential of underrepresented fibres in the marketplace – today.”
Ananas Anam, one of the three companies to found FIBRAL, produces a vegan leather alternative made from pineapple leaves. Known as Piñatex, it has been used to make Nike shoes, handbags sold at Selfridges, and clothing for various fashion labels. The material was the first natural vegan leather alternative to be produced at scale.
Last year, Ananas announced a partnership with the world’s leading fruit and vegetable supplier Dole to upcycle more pineapple leaves — part of Dole’s target to eliminate fruit loss. Ananas CEO Melanie Broyé-Engelkes told vegconomist that the company had big ambitions following the collaboration.
“We will expand our product portfolio to enter new verticals, expand the use of renewable resources across our supply chain to become carbon neutral without relying on reforestation, and develop social impact projects at larger scale,” she said.plant-based industry