Oct 28, 2022
by James Roberts
Progress Over Perfection: How Pineapples Became the Leather On Your Nikes
by James Roberts
Oct 28, 2022

It’s been a little while but here we are, back with another episode of our podcast, Progress Over Perfection. For this ep, we sat down with Dr. Carmen Hijosa, the Founder and Chief Creative and Innovation Officer at Ananas Anam, the company behind Piñatex.

Piñatex is the exciting plant-based leather alternative made from waste pineapple leaves. But don’t just think of it as a leather alternative. Dr. Hijosa prefers to see it as its own thing.

“I don’t even like to compare it with [leather] because it’s a new material,” she said. “Of course it’s not like leather. Forget about leather!”

And Dr. Hijosa knows leather. She worked with it for 15 years before making the transition to plant-based textiles. She also knows that Piñatex passes all the performance tests. If it didn’t, the likes of Nike and Saucony wouldn’t use it.

Both brands have collaborated with Ananas Anam. In May, we reported on Saucony giving its Jazz Court sneaker a pineapple-fresh update. It’s also worth checking out Nike’s “Happy Pineapple” collection which reimagined such classics as the Air Force 1, Air Max 95 and Air Max 90.

Dr. Hijosa talked about her love of sneakers in her chat with FVV’s Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Daniel Navetta. They also talked about the challenges of upscaling, the power of a good collaboration, and the problem of greenwashing in the industry.

But it seems like the real joy that Dr. Hijosa gets from her work, is the positive impact it’s having on the people who make it, as well as the planet that it’s sourced from.

“We know everybody in our supply chain. We know where the fibers come from. We know the farmers. This is a privilege. For a big company, it’s impossible to understand [their entire] supply chain.”

Collaborating with the likes of Nike not only brings Ananas Anam status but also helps it grow steadily. And that growth helps communities and families around the world, like in the Philippines where Annas Anam works. We hope that Piñatex continues to grow because it’s a truly awesome material and Dr. Hijosa is a truly inspirational human.

Listen to the episode above, or on AppleSpotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.