Stay Trendy (And Eco-friendly) with textiles made from Pineapple, Banana and Coconut

 “Banana silk gowns, 100% pineapple leather jacket, coconut fibre sweatshirts” 

Fashion Industry   

Clothing, one of our basic needs, has become one of the important aspects of life. The fashion industry has grown in leaps in bounds, as consumerism has increased with the surge in the world economy. Statistics show that 95.6 million tons of textile were used the world over in 2015, of which 62.1% were oil-based synthetic fibres, including protein and cellulose-based fibres like cotton, polyester 25.2%, 1.2% wool, and 1.5% other types of fibres. It is no surprise that the garment industry is one of the potential sources of pollution, right from synthetic fibres, dyes to chemicals used to process the fabric and pollute nature at all levels. The fashion industry accounts for 4-10% of total greenhouse gases annually.

In a world that is moving towards eco-friendly products that do not leave any ecological footprints, it is of prime importance for the textile industry to look out for natural fabrics. These fabrics are not only obtained from nature; they are also processed in an eco-friendly way. Harmful chemicals and dyes are not used. At the end of its life, the fabric does not cause any harm to nature. These kinds of fabrics are generally part of sustainable fashion.

Sustainable fashion is the new buzzword in the world of fashion. Sustainable fashion (also known as eco-fashion)looks into the well-being of all species of present and future generations. As responsible world citizens, it is our duty and utmost priority to live sustainably. It becomes imperative that no ecological footprints are left behind, right from the food we consume to the fabric we wear. Along with its profit agenda, the fashion industry should have ethical, environmental, and social concerns too. The use of local produce and products, ways of prolonging the life cycle of fabrics, and reducing the harm caused to nature as a result of its consumption and production must be addressed as well. 

Also, another important aspect is to promote and encourage “green consumers” who are educated to use environmentally friendly products. As a part of this eco-consumerism, the fashion industry has revived age-old fabrics developed from cheap, sustainable sources such as banana fibre, coconut fibre, and pineapple fibres.

Banana fibres

Banana fibre is one of the strongest, a natural fibre that can serve as a good alternative to silk. It is also called Musa fibre and is made from the stem of the banana tree. It is highly durable and is bio-degradable. The fibre mainly consists of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. Banana fibres are comparable to bamboo fibres but have better in terms of tensile strength, spin ability, and fineness. The type of fabric made depends on the part of the stem used. Banana tree outer sheath yields thicker, sturdier fibres. Softer fibres come from the inner sheath.

Although banana fibre was known way back in the 13th century in Japan, its use reduced as other fibres such as silk and cotton came to the forefront. After many decades it has made a comeback. Now, it is being used to make many products such as Japanese currency notes, tea bags and sarees. Banana fibres are recyclable, tear-resistant and fire-resistant.

Banana yarn is made by boiling strips of the sheath in an alkaline solution, which helps soften and separate them. After separating skin and fibre, the fibres are joined together to form threads. These threads are spun together when wet to prevent breakage, after which they are woven or dyed.

Banana fibres have strong moisture absorbing properties. The fabric woven out of this fibre is supple and soft and has a natural shine comparable to silk. It is comparable to bamboo in strength but not as durable as it. In the long run, they can be a good alternative to silk and cotton. 


Pineapple fibre    

Pineapple is a sub-tropical fruit, which also has medicinal properties. Apart from its edible fruits, its leaves find use in the textile industry. Pina is the textile fabric obtained from pineapple leaves. It can be combined with polyester or silk, which can be used as textile fabric. Pina fabric is credited to have originated in the Philippines, and it dates back to the Hispanic age. It is an eco-friendly fibre, which is becoming popular in the textile world. It is comparable to leather. Both leaves and fruits can be a source of fibre. However, the Philippine royalty used it extensively. The advent of silk and cotton from China and India caused pina to lose its sheen. Piña, as it was known, was traditional fibre made into lustrous lace-like nipis fabrics made from pineapple leaves.


Generally, the fibres are obtained from pineapple leaves and extraction of fibres from leaves is called decortication. During decortication, a byproduct of biomass is produced along with fibres. Fibres are washed and dried, and then they are de-gummed. De-gumming results in fibres becoming flexible and soft. Later, they are woven and finally made into leather-like fabric. As the fashion industry is looking for alternatives to leather from animal sources, pineapple leather is a promising alternative to leather. It is strong, durable,bio-degradable, and is almost like natural leather, which makes it sought after among eco-friendly fashion brands. Also, traditional pina weaving has withstood the test of time and regained its lost glory in the past two decades as it is being sought after by top fashion brands. This versatile textile has also been used to make home furnishings, shoes and clothing. Hugo Boss has launched its shoe range using pinatex, a pineapple fibre product.

Coconut fibre

Coir is the natural, toughest and strongest fibre obtained from the outer shell of the coconut. It occurs in two forms: brown coir and white coir. Brown coir comes from mature coconuts. And for making white coir, early-stage coconuts are soaked for ten months. Brown coir is used for making brushes, rope and mattresses. It is used for making fishing nets. To get a yield of 10kg of coir, 1000 coconuts are needed. From recycled coconut shells, Cocona fabric is created. Adding activated carbon from coconut shells to fibres, yarns and fabric produces a fabric that stays cool, dries quick, and provides UV protection(up to 50+UPF. This fabric makes ideal sportswear. This fabric is also used to make garments such as shirts, underwear, outerwear, tank tops, travel wear and footwear. This does not wear out like other treatments on the surface as the Cocona technology is applied inside. Researchers have concluded that petroleum consumption is reduced by 2-4 million barrel,s and 450,000 tons of carbon emissions is reduced annually by replacing synthetic fibres with coconut husk fibres.

These fibres from nature were used in the past. In the current scenario, where we stand at the brink of a fragile ecosystem, we need to look hard into our past and revive the ancient knowledge of sustainable living to make the Earth a better place for now and future generations to come.