Ananas Anam: a leather made with plant fibers

Alterfin is proud to introduce one of its new partners in the textile industry: Ananas Anam UK.

Founded in England in 2013, Ananas Anam UK is a company that has developed a sustainable textile made with pineapple leaves. These leaves are usually discarded, burned, or partially used for composting.

Production begins by extracting fibers from pineapple leaves. These fibers are cleaned and dried before being pressed in the Philippines: they will become the raw material. The fibers are then biologically coated in several stages in a specialized plant in Spain. 

The finished textile is then sold to the brand Piñatex, and is used to replace leather in the fashion industry for padding, upholstery, and packaging.

With this unique product, Ananas Anam has already attracted big names in fashion, including Chanel and Hugo Boss, along with many vegan labels.

The company’s story

The story began when Dr. Carmen Hijosa, entrepreneur and designer of leather goods, was consulting on the leather export industry in the Philippines in the 1990s. Shocked by the environmental impact of mass leather production and chemical tanning, and aware that alternatives to PVC were not the solution, she sought a sustainable response in 1995.

It should be noted that the tanning process involves more than 20 stages and requires 250 chemicals to prevent leather from decomposing. Synthetic alternatives such as PVC are no less harmful because the processes to produce and destroy them are environmentally toxic.

Inspired by the abundance of natural resources in the Philippines, Carmen sought to create a new textile. She was inspired by the local use of plant fibers in traditional weaving, such as the country’s delicate Barong Tagalog garments, to create and market this textile.

It has a social and economic impact throughout its life cycle thanks to its Cradle to Cradle design.

“Our vision is to develop textiles and materials that enhance the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants throughout the product’s life cycle. We’re inspired by the Cradle to Cradle approach and how it supports green, intelligent, and innovative policies in today’s economic environment.”

The Cradle to Cradle concept refers to an environmentally friendly and ethical approach, based on zero pollution and a product that is 100% reusable. The Cradle to Cradle eco-friendly design process results in the creation and development of upcyclable products: when compared to conventional recycling, this process ensures the consistent quality of the raw materials used throughout the product’s various life cycles. In the end, the materials enter into infinite cycles without any loss of quality.
To put it simply, when recycling this kind of manufactured product, it must be possible to produce the same product again simply by using sustainable energy.

Ted Talk by Carmen Hijosa  (video)

Alterfin’s support

Ananas Anam ships Piñatex once it has received full payment from its clients. With ever-increasing sales volumes, especially for bulk orders, the need for pre-financing is also growing. In addition to showing genuine enthusiasm for the concept, Alterfin helps to make up this shortfall by providing financial support in the form of the working capital required to meet larger orders. The company uses this working capital to buy raw materials and fund the production process up until the final stage when the textiles are bought by the client. 

In terms of its social impact, Ananas Anam supports rural communities in the Philippines by working with farming cooperatives to create an additional income stream for pineapple growers.

Piñatex is a response to environmental issues: a sustainable textile made from natural waste that uses very little water and no harmful chemicals or products of animal origin.

Ananas Anam UK

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