Four materials made from banana plants at Future Fabrics Expo

At this year’s Future Fabrics Expo, banana plants emerged as a fruitful source for making more sustainable materials. Here, we spotlight four examples of the plant being transformed into leather alternatives and clothing fabric.

Hosted by non-profit organisation The Sustainable Angle at Magazine London, the annual Future Fabrics Expo aims to showcase sustainable and responsibly sourced fabrics and products for fashion and interiors industries.

This year’s edition of the fair had over 10,000 products on display, and materials made from banana plants were among the pick of the bunch.

Read on for four sustainable materials made from banana plants exhibited at the Future Fabrics Expo.

Banofi banana plant leather material

Banofi leather

Banofi (above and top) is a plant-based leather made from banana crop waste. It was created to offer a vegan alternative to animal and plastic leather while also upcycling the waste from banana trees, which bear fruit just once in their lives.

Banana crop waste is sourced from farmers in India and fibres are extracted to create the main raw material. This is combined with natural gums and adhesives and then finished with synthetic coatings to make it more durable.

Banofi claims its leather uses 95 per cent less water and causes 90 per cent less carbon emissions than animal leather. The brand hopes to make the material fully bio-based in the future.

Fiiba banana plant material


Also making use of banana crop waste was Fiiba, which transforms the waste materials into woven fabric designed as an alternative to cotton and viscose.

The brand explained that as banana plants produce fruit once in their lives, they are often burned or left to rot. Fiiba dries out fibres from felled trees and then treats and spins them into fabric.

Fiiba believes that the main advantages of using banana crop waste as a sustainable fabric source are that it avoids the water usage and insecticides needed for growing cotton and the deforestation caused by viscose production.

Parley for the Oceans Bananatex jacket

Bananatex for Parley for the Oceans and Sky High Farm Universe

Aiming to provide a substitute for clothing made from virgin plastic, non-profit groups Parley for the Oceans and Sky High Farm Universe collaborated on a ready-to-wear clothing collection made from biomaterials, including jackets and trousers made from Bananatex.

Bananatex is a canvas fabric made from Abacá, a banana plant that doesn’t need pesticides, fertiliser or irrigation to grow.

According to the Bananatex brand, this means the Abacá plant can be planted with other plant species in eroded monoculture palm plantations to increase forestation and biodiversity.

Green Whisper banana yarn

Green Whisper

Green Whisper extracts fibres from harvested banana tree trunks directly in the farmers’ fields. The banana fibres are mixed with organic cotton to create a biodegradable fabric.

The brand also produces notebooks and paper products from the waste tree trunks, intending to reduce the amount of waste crop burning and generate additional income for farmers.

Future Fabrics Expo took place at Magazine London from 25 to 26 June. For more events, exhibitions and talks in architecture and design visit Dezeen Events Guide.

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