Carmen Hijosa is the proud owner of textiles brand Piñatex, a company that is far from an ordinary textiles company. The brand makes clothes from pineapple leaves, providing an alternative to leather in the fashion industry. Also, Piñatex is raising awareness of sustainability in the fashion industry and creating jobs for women.
Though Hijosa has been working on this for over 12 years, she's spent her whole life in the world of fashion. Her company, Piñatex, has worked with over 3,000 brands worldwide, including Hugo Boss, Chanel, Mango, and Ecoalf.
In 2016, Piñatex launched its first prototype. That year, it made a profit of $363,000. Even in 2020, despite a very difficult year due to the pandemic, Piñatex grew by 40% from 2019. And while it's currently in a transitional phase, the company is taking steps to expand from the medium-sized company it currently is.
Carmen has long been fascinated by pineapple leaves. "It was by working intimately with the product that I began to realize that what I was looking for was possible," she says. "I kept trying over and over again and felt that the fiber began to speak to me directly. Their fibers are very fine, but they're also strong and flexible. And so I thought that I could make mesh with them."
In 2016, she came up with a vegan leather that advocates ethical responsibility and that thousands of brands from around the world are now working with.
Photo source: Piñatex