London-dependent entrepreneur who created leather substitute from pineapple leaves nominated for best award


London-dependent sustainable manner entrepreneur who designed a leather alternate from pineapple leaves has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Inventor Award.

Former Earth Bank adviser and textile market skilled, Carmen Hijosa, invented her trademarked Piñatex cloth in a bid to discover a resilient, environmentally-helpful, attractive-searching and gentle alternative to leather.

Pineapple leaves are ordinarily a waste product or service of fruit harvests, but the designer devised a approach to generate fabric from their dried-out cellulose fibres, which she blended with corn-centered polylactic acid and remodeled into a non-woven mesh textile.

Piñatex, which is produced employing considerably significantly less water than other textiles such as cotton, is now made use of by just about 3,000 brand names close to the environment, which include Hugo Boss and H&M – and was very important to developing the world’s initial all-vegan lodge suite at The Hilton Bankside in London in 2019.

Hijosa, 69, earlier catered to purchasers including Harrods, ahead of functioning as a textile advisor for the Globe Financial institution


Hijosa, 69, moved to Eire from her indigenous Spain as a teen and co-established luxury leather-based production firm Chesneau Leather Goods back in 1977, aged just 19. Heading up design and style for the business, she catered to shoppers which include Harrods, right before doing work as a textile marketing consultant for the Globe Lender.

It was when doing the job in the Philippines with the Entire world Bank that the designer was uncovered to the extent of the industry’s detrimental environmental and social effects. She was inspired to commence building her pineapple leather-based, and in 2009 undertook a PhD in textiles at the Royal University of Art, operating to hone the creation.

“Pineapple leaf fibres are incredibly strong, high-quality and adaptable, and have been employed in the Philippines for 300 decades in traditionally hand-woven textiles,” Hijosa claimed. “I started to assume: ‘What if I make a mesh with these pineapple leaf fibres, which is not not like leather-based – a mesh of fibres?'”

The entrepreneur launched her agency Ananas Anam in 2013. Due to the fact then the organization – which now employs 10 staff members in London and performs with factories in Spain and the Philippines – has witnessed revenues virtually double just about every year by way of to 2019, before developing by 40% in 2020. Currently Piñatex creation delivers an supplemental profits to far more than 700 families in farming communities and cooperatives in the Philippines.

The European Inventor Award, run considering that 2006 by the European Patent Workplace (EPO), honours all those whose innovations “provide responses to some of the greatest challenges of our times”. Hijosa has been shortlisted in the SME group, and the EPO notes that “the world’s top rated 10 pineapple generating nations making sufficient leaves to most likely exchange much more than 50% of the world’s leather output with Hijosa’s material”.

EPO president, António Campinos, claimed that “Hijosa has demonstrated how innovation can produce sustainable choices”.

Campinos claimed: “The earlier yr has highlighted more than ever the great importance of experts, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs in advancing technology and improving our life.”

The winner will be announced on June 17.