The Pineapple Fabric Story

The “organic” label is an unsaid norm these days. From veggies in the fridge to shampoos in the bathroom, most of the people have switched to organic products for daily consumption. The reasons for opting organic items are numerous: to live a healthier life, to reduce ingestion of chemicals that seep into the products via pesticides and fertilizers, to make the planet a better place as organic farming is easier on the soil and makes way for faster regeneration, and so on. Just like food, beverages and beauty products, even the apparel industry has started marching towards organic alternatives for the production of garments. According to agriculture organizations, fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rate out of all the food products. This has created a major problem as the high levels of lignin and cellulose present in the waste leaves is difficult to degrade and results in polluting the environment. After the discovery of this issue, there has been a rise in knowledge, experiments and usage with regards to certain organic fabrics.

Image source – Pinterest

Kalibo, Aklan in the Philippines is the main and the oldest manufacturer of “Pina” in the country for export. Pineapple silk is considered as the ‘Queen of Philippine Fabrics’ and is favored by the Philippine elite to such an extent that even wedding dresses and other traditional formal wear are made using pineapple fiber as it is soft, durable and resistant to moisture.

Image source – Wikimedia.org

The Philippine Information Agency announced that the country’s 59,000 hectares of pineapple plantations can yield 55,483 tons of pineapple fiber, adding that this agriculture waste can be alternative material for apparel, home textiles and non-woven and industrial fabrics. From each pineapple fruit, only 52% is used for jam and juice production. The remaining 48% which consists of fruit peel and leaves, forms the waste. The waste produced is rich in lignin and cellulose and thus is a very good raw material for allied fibers. The fiber is hand-scraped using a coconut shell or a broken plate. The production of Pina has also generated thousands of job opportunities for the weavers as the fiber is spun into soft and shimmery yarn, then woven into fabric by hands. 

Pineapple fiber has helped to reduce the number of footprints by a considerable rate. It is an excellent alternative to the widely used cotton crop which is currently ubiquitous in the apparel industry. Global fashion designers are always in a search of innovative materials and new ideas to give them an edge in the industry, and Pina has the potential to raise that bar and greatly influence fashion.

It is important to increase the demand and support organic fiber clothing. It’s time to make better fashion choices and recognize the great potential organic fibers have to offer.


Author:
Devanshi Dabhi
1st Year, Fashion Design

Editors:
Ruhi Kapoor
3rd Year, Fashion Design
Shalini Mohanty
Assistant Professor, ASFDT

Graphic Designers:
Abhirami Vishnu
2nd Year, Textile Design
Prarthana Kapadia
3rd Year, Fashion Design

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