Innovative Materials: Bananatex® is a truly circular technical fabric

Bananatex® is the world’s first durable, technical fabric made purely from naturally grown Abacá banana plants.

Bananatex-Eclectic-Trends-2

 

The Story

Bananatex® is the world’s first durable, technical fabric made purely from naturally grown Abacá banana plants.

Cultivated in the Philippine highlands within a natural ecosystem of sustainable mixed agriculture and forestry, the plant is self-sufficient and requires no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water.

These qualities have allowed it to contribute to reforestation in areas once eroded due to monocultural palm plantations, whilst enhancing biodiversity and the economic prosperity of its farmers.

Three years of research and development resulted in a new material that answers questions of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

As an open-source project, Bananatex® offers a truly circular alternative to the synthetic fabrics that dominate the market today.

Since its launch in October 2018 Bananatex® has won a variety of international sustainability and design awards such as the Green Product Award 2019, the Design Prize Switzerland Award 2019/20 as well as the German Sustainability Award Design 2021.

Another major step was taken in December 2021 when the Bananatex® fabric was Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold, the most advanced standard globally for products that are safe, circular and responsibly made. This acknowledgement affirms Bananatex®’s commitment to protecting the natural environment and supporting the communities the brand engages with.

 

The Process

Grown within a natural ecosystem of sustainable mixed agriculture and forestry, Abacá is sturdy and self-sufficient, requiring no pesticides or extra water.

These qualities have allowed it to contribute to reforestation in areas of the former Philippine jungle eroded by soil damage due to monocultural palm plantations, whilst enhancing the economic prosperity of its farmers. 

Once the Abacá fibres have been transformed into yarn in a Taiwanese paper mill, the yarn – in the case of the All Black colourway – is coloured using the yarn dying method.

This process is more sustainable than the typical roll-dying alternative, and certified to the highest standard (Oeko-Tex® Standard 100).

The Natural White colourway reflects the actual colour of the fibres and is accordingly not dyed.

CUTTING THE STALKS

Each Abacá plant has several stalks that can be harvested once a year, and regenerate fully within one year. The first step is “topping”: cutting the leaves, then “tumbling” the stalks. The leaves are left to decompose, creating a natural fertilizer.

STRIPPING

The stripping is handled at the harvesting site, and the fibres are “combed” to separate them from one another.

SORTING

The raw fibres are sorted at the warehouse of the farmer’s cooperative.

Collaborations and Application 

Bananatex® is incredibly strong and durable while remaining soft, lightweight and supple. The Natural White colourway reflects the actual colour of the fibres and is not dyed. An all-natural wax coating can be applied to make Bananatex® waterproof. The resulting fabric has a smooth and distinctive texture.

 

MCM WORLDWIDE

Known for its signature monogram designs luxury lifestyle goods and fashion house MCM Worldwide uses Bananatex® to create this fresh spin on a streetwear classic. The bucket hat features an embroidered MCM logo capturing the freedom of the summer months.

Bananatex-Eclectic-Trends-5

Magazin x Softline

Our living spaces have never been more important as sanctuaries of calm from the turmoil of the outside world. In tribute to their enhanced centrality, homeware pioneer Magazin and the Danish furniture brand Softline collaborated to present the KOLTER ECO daybed.

Designed for durability and easy care the daybed features a removable custom cover made from the Bananatex® fabric and a modular frame made of Scandinavian spruce.

Bananatex daybed collaboration Magazin x Softline

Charlotta Åman (ECAL)

Diploma project ECAL / Babybo

Recent studies show that there are still many baby sleeping products on the market containing toxic chemicals, which can cause respiratory damage and are likely to be carcinogenic. Moreover, baby beds have a rather short lifetime due to the risk of mould, mites and bacteria.

Babybo is a portable baby nest that offers a safe environment for 0-6 months babies. The mattress core is made from a hypoallergenic and breathable mycelium foam, tuned into different densities for comfort and stability, and further heat-pressed into soft panels creating an easy fold. The compact design is easily transformed into a play mat, changing pad, shelter or sleeping pod, depending on how the buttons are closed.

All materials used, including the waterproof banana fibre-fabric Bananatex®, enable a 100% biodegrading process at an industrial compost when being shredded at the end of its lifetime.

Bananatex-Eclectic-Trends-7

 

The Founders

Bananatex® was developed by Swiss bag brand and material innovators QWSTION in collaboration with a yarn specialist and a weaving partner, both based in Taiwan. Engaged in the multi-year development and production process behind the new fabric, the three parties united with the ambition to make a positive impact on the planet’s future.

For more information on this innovative material watch the short, award-winning documentary on the development of Bananatex® here. 

For more on our ever-growing inspiring material library click here.

Images courtesy of Bananatex® 

How about some extra inspiration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow our Wednesday Journal

Receive your dose of inspiration, education, and downloadable resources. By signing up now, you will access the last three editions.

Mood Board Creation: Learn How To Effectively Communicate

Online Courses - English

You’ll find now a very complete starter program, which comes subtitled in eight languages. You will learn:

  • why haptic moodboarding becomes more relevant and effective in 2022 
  • how to create a balanced board that not only looks good but works as a memorable communication tool
  • that I do not start a mood board with the creative hands-on process but with a thinking process and a formula
  • how I used that specific formula in a business project, which I share with you

The Mood Board Academy on Instagram

[]