PARIS — With sustainability trending in fashion, Parisian footwear label Rombaut has introduced a new, eco-friendly material made from pineapple leaf fibers for fall.
Dubbed Piñatex, the non-woven textile developed by London-based Ananas Anam Ltd. is billed as a natural substitute for leather. Biodegradable, its fiber is sourced from local farms in the Philippines as a byproduct of the pineapple harvest, requiring no additional land, water or fertilizers during production.
“The material is very similar to leather. It’s easy to work with and also very strong, which makes it durable,” said Rombaut founder Mats Rombaut.
The Belgian designer, a vegan, has made sustainability the mantra of his three-year old, Paris-based brand. His previous experiments include materials sourced from stone, tree bark and coconut. “For me, there is no other way. I think we are really pushing the limits of production. If we want to keep making fashion, sustainability is the only way,” he said.
For fall, Rombaut applied his minimalist aesthetic to a unisex range of extreme wedges, snakeskin print trainers, modernist Velcro-strap high tops and loafers in faux fur.
What is not done from Piñatex, which gives trainers a wrinkled look, is made of rubber-coated cotton, laser-cut wood or synthetic leather.
The styles range between 240 euros, or $282, and 450 euros, or $507, and are sold via 22 doors, including L’Eclaireur in Paris and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
The brand, which is slated to show at the Talent to Trend showroom in Paris from March 5 to 10, is looking to expand. “We have been growing organically, adding 30 percent every season, but we want to go further. For the first time we are working with a commercial agent,” said Rombaut, who previously trained with Lanvin men’s wear director Lucas Ossendrijver and designer Damir Doma.
The label’s current bestseller is a round-toe slip-on featuring a natural rubber sole.