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Vegan Sustainable Fabrics, aka fashion made from fruits, veggies, plants

Start-ups are built mainly for two reasons: to make money or to change the world.

We prefer the latter and believe in the spread of good ideas that raise awareness and solve issues. With lots of whys asked and innovation pushed by design thinking, fashion is on its way to become more sustainable.

Scientists and visionaries are busy allowing us to shop more consciously in growing the future by using waste, upcycling rests or growing the raw materials in labs fast without harming the environment.

Say hello to Plant-based fibre, materials derived from plants, like eucalyptus trees, cork trees, the hemp plant, or even from the byproducts of fruit.

There are various contests (Green Product Award, LVMH Innovation Award and many more) that award this kind of experiments, accelerators that help them get the attention of fashion producers, and more and more products available for us.

H&M has its own contest since 2015, Global Change Award, where most of the truly innovative start-ups were discovered, and exposed to a wider audience through their special collections Conscious and Conscious Exclusive.

In 2021 they launched Innovation Stories, a series of collections dedicated to promoting the use of new, more sustainable materials, technologies and production processes within the garment industry.

Vegan leather made from Pineapples, Mushrooms, Grape Seeds and Cactus

Pineapple leaf fibre

Pinatex Ananas Anam Ltd 90s Philippines

The sweetest fruit wears the crown of the pioneering leather material alternatives with research started in the 90's by its founder Dr. Carmen Hijosa, and one of the most widely used by over 1000 brands worldwide.

Pineapple fibres, the waste of the fruit, are valued even more than gold, or silver in the Philippines. Weaving fabrics out of pineapple fibres remain the exclusive craftsmanship of a handful of people.

Besides turning it to leather these fibres are blended with polyester or silk to make organic fabrics , and if you search for #MadeFromPiñatex you will find out that it made it's way to interior design too. Tamasine Osher Design creates angular ‘Spider’ chairs using the fabric for upholstery, while 2LG Studio included it in a ‘Love/Work’ space.

H&M launched in February 2021 animal printed cowboy boots and a jacket made from Pinatex.

Mushroom fungi-derived leather

Mylo™ by Bolt Threads 2019 California (founded in 2007, launching Microsilk™)

Collaborated with Stella McCartney for the Falabella bag, with Lululemon, and luxury fashion group Kering (Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen)

Adidas’ iconic Stan Smiths are the first footwear silhouette to take on Mylo mushroom-derived "leather" at scale -via wwd.


and Reishi™, premium next generation Mycelium

First used in 1990 as a medium for sculptures,

their technology now originates in an open science approach to learning.

The Hermès Victoria bag in Sylvania made of Fine Mycelium, H plume canvas and Evercalf calfskin. An exemplar of a new generation of exclusive materials, Sylvania made out of Fine Mycelium is the result of three years of exclusive and collaborative work by Hermès and MycoWorks.


Cacti Deserto 2019 Mexico

Cactus is a natural carbon sink, it has a great CO2 sequestering capacity.

It only takes 200 liters to grow one kilogram of cactus biomass which water is absorbed by the plant itself from humidity present in the atmosphere, compared to 1000 liters (on average) to grow the same kilogram from other crops.

Desserto has already won awards such as the 2020 Green Product Award and the LVMH Innovation Award 2020. Fossil and Karl Lagerfeld launched vegan cactus leather bags made from the Cacti and in March they had products in H&Ms collection too.

"Wine leather"

Vegea Italy - 2016

Grape skins, seeds and stalks discarded during wine production are saved from going to waste and used to make leather instead.

V-Textile, V-Poly, V-Yarn used also in packaging, automotive, furniture and these beautiful boots.

Nike has unveiled its Move To Zero sneaker range featuring one of the company’s ‘most sustainable shoes’ to date. The sneakers are made from eco-friendly materials including recycled cork sourced from the wine industry.

Something in the making from Denmark - Leather made from upcycled leftover apples, from the waste in cider production.

Orange Skin used for Silk

Orange Fiber 2014 Italy

Silk-like cellulose yarn that can blend with other materials.

Adriana Santanocito & Enrica Arena presented early prototypes at the Vogue Fashion Night Out in Milan in 2014.

In 2015, the Italian company Orange Fiber won the first edition of Global Change Award, by H&M Foundation, and sold products in 2019 in their CONSCIOUS EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION.

In 2017, the female founded and led start-up launched a capsule collection for the Italian luxury house Salvatore Ferragamo.


Bananatex® 2008 Switzerland, Zurich/Taiwan

A few scrolls on QWSTION show you the fascinating process from leaf to yarn to fabric, a result of a three-way development between the Swiss backpack brand, Taiwanese yarn specialist and weaving partner.

Banana fibres are extracted from the barks of the banana tree and are better than bamboo and ramie fibres, characterized also as the ‘world’s first durable, waterproof fabric, thanks to its all-natural wax finish.

They caught the attention with the latest collaboration between the London based

footwear brand Good News on H&M’s first-ever shoe collaboration featuring innovative materials. The Bananatex® fabric is used for the upper of the black low top sneaker combined with other sustainable elements like recycled rubber soles and recycled cotton.

Shoe soles and various accessories made through the upcycling of organic waste material from the banana peel. Sarah Harbarth, another Swiss inventive soul, proposed KUORI for her Bachelor Project at @institutindustrialdesign.

Sugar Cane

Renewable Sugar cane was used to make UGG shoes in The Plant Power collection.

The new Chukka boots are lined with TENCEL Lyocell, with soles are made of LACTAE HEVEA: latex harvested from the Hevea rubber tree.

Other amazing inventions, all vegetal, all-natural, all sustainable

Parblex Chip[s] Board® UK 2019

Innovative materials made from potato waste can become plastic buttons and frames.

Coconut Fibres are extracted and spun into durable yarn. Mostly with a brownish hue, these fibres are used in mats, and rugs and apparels.

Nanollose has produced what it believes to be the world’s first Tree-Free Viscose-Rayon fibre, Nullarbor FibreTM, which has also been successfully spun into yarn, fabric and a garment.

EVO by Fulgar®, Italy, a bio-based yarn derived from castor oil, a renewable resource.

Seaweed - used in the porous structure of the SeaCell textile fibers (Germany) promotes humidity intake and release, which keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Kokoro Zenwear handmade Irish luxury, unisex, organic, clothing and accessory brand made with Bamboo fibre that aspires to become “the Tesla of fashion”.

QMilch made from high concentrations of the milk protein casein, milk proteins from NON FOOD milk. Female founder, from Germany, Anke Domaske former microbiology student developed QMilk Faser, QMilk Cosmetics, QMilk- Polymer100% natural plastic.

You got the plant, the name of the material, year and the developing companies plus their links and some news.

Have fun digging deeper - most of their websites are a true pleasure to scroll on and deep dive into the storytelling.

I analysed the UX of their websites, with examples of best practices and improvement ideas. Since it's such an innovative field, their websites are their cards, their personal playgrounds.


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