Malaysian research turns pineapple leaves into fabric

Politeknik lecturer Ibrahim Sultan and his team have transformed pineapple leaves into fabric, which can be used to produce fashion accessories. Abu Bakar Abdul Hamid, a senior lecturer in fashion design, said the venture started 13 years ago and it took them about three years just to research ways to convert the fibre inside pineapple leaves into yarn.

He said: “Johor is the country’s leading producer of pineapples, which means it has a lot of waste such as leaves and peels. Instead of discarding them, we conducted research to see how we could extract the plant’s fibre and turn it into thread. After three years, we came up with something that could be hand-woven. With the hard part done, we thought there must be at least an end product that we could make with the thread, so we spent another year turning it into kain tenun (hand-woven fabric).” It could about a month to produce 2.5m of the fabric, which could fetch RM1,600, Abu Bakar said.

Entrepreneur Aset Kayamas has launched the Sleeping Lion brand in Bukit Bintang, hoping to use the fabric. “Each bag is sold for between RM160 and 350 depending on the size, while the neckties are priced from RM180 to 200 each,” he said.

Abu Bakar added that 8 people are involved in the production, with the raw materials or fibre extraction process being conducted in Pontian. The fabric production is done by weavers in Terengganu, Pahang, Kelantan and Yayasan Warisan Johor.

[ RM1 = €0.20 ]


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