New Hugo Boss sneakers made from pineapple leather
German luxury fashion house company Hugo Boss has launched a limited edition of stylish men sneakers made from Piñatex. Piñatex is a natural innovative textile made from pineapple leaf fibre which looks similar to leather. Piñatex was in development for seven years and finally patented by Carmen Hjiosa whilst doing her PhD at the Royal College of Arts in London. According to Hijosa, Piñatex is “created from a byproduct of agriculture, meaning it is made from an otherwise total waste product. This really means that in order to produce Piñatex, a textile, we don’t have to use any land, water, pesticides, fertilizers … we are actually taking a waste material and ‘upscaling’ it, meaning that we’re giving it added value.” This is especially good news as leather production can use very large amounts of energy and resources, such as food for animals, water, land and fossil fuels.
Apart from being a vegan substitute to animal leather, Piñatex is also better than synthetic leather because it is biodegradable and does not use harmful chemicals. Vegan leather is not sustainable per se and one needs to be careful and really do their homework as some faux leathers can also contain "PU" – polyurethane, which is highly toxic and used in tanning.
Leather tanning is in fact one of the most toxic industry segments in the world and is not only harmful to the environment but also to workers. Workers in India sometimes do not possess protective gear such as boots, gloves or protective glasses or other safety equipment. This has led to skin infections, asthma, allergies, pneumonia or even cancer. Until now little research is available what the problems really are. Although things are getting better, more processes and regulations are required in order to minimise these challenges.
For more information on Pinatex: https://www.fastcompany.com/3059190/this-gorgeous-sustainable-leather-is-made-from-pineapple-waste
For more information on faux leather: https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/the-dark-side-to-vegan-leather-is-far-from-ethical-20170314-guxkn4.html
For more information on tanning in India: https://theecologist.org/2012/oct/26/toxic-chemicals-used-leather-production-poisoning-indias-tannery-workers