Stella McCartney debuts sustainable vegan leather bag made from banana plants | Totally Vegan Buzz
Stella McCartney debuts sustainable vegan leather bag made from banana plants.
Image: Stella McCartney

The innovative material is a durable and waterproof fabric that’s “entirely natural, circular and plastic-free”.

Luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney has launched its first-ever bag made from banana plants after using vegan mushroom leather in its earlier designs.

The latest item is part of the brand’s autumn 2023 collection.

Dubbed Bananatex, the material is touted to be durable and waterproof and  “entirely natural, circular and plastic-free”.

The first design is the brand’s iconic Logo tote bag in an intricate burgundy red and ivory white ‘Fungi Forest toile de Jouy print’.

The bag is priced at £1,350 and also features stainless steel, recycled brass hardware, faux-suede lining, and a detachable pouch.

What is Bananatex?

Bananatex is vegan animal-free leather made from naturally grown Abacá banana plants.

It is cultivated in the Philippines, where the species is “abundant in the local ecosystem”. It requires no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water for its growth as each plant offers several stalks that can be harvested annually before regenerating fully within a year.

Moreover, the plant, “serves as a source of nutrition for the surrounding biodiversity”, which in turn “positively contributes to reforestation in areas of the Philippines that were once monocultural palm”.

The material was engineered by Swiss bag brand and material innovators QWSTION in collaboration with a yarn specialist and a weaving partner, both based in Taiwan.

They used abacá stalks for their tensile strength and durability, resulting in “a luxurious, high-quality, cotton-like canvas”.

It took them three years of research and development to develop Bananatex.  

The fabric offers a truly circular alternative to the synthetic materials that dominate the market today. It can be processed back into pulp and turned into paper and then back into fabric.

Despite being a relatively new material, it has already won several highly acclaimed awards in the world of sustainability and design.

Since its launch in 2018, it has been awarded several international sustainability and design awards such as the Green Product Award 2019, the Design Prize Switzerland Award 2019/20 as well as the German Sustainability Award Design 2021.

McCartney’s emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable materials

McCartney is well known for her animal rights and sustainability efforts.

The designer has always championed using animal-free alternatives within the scope of fashion and beauty.

Last year she launched a $200 million investment fund for eco-friendly businesses.

She showcased leather-alternative made from grapes, as well as the mushroom-based mycelium leather named Mylo in her summer 2023 collection.

McCartney also launched a new cruelty-free, vegan skincare line called STELLA, to offer clean, non-toxic beauty with a luxurious twist.

The product line, which includes a cleanser, a daily-use serum, and a moisturizing cream is described as a minimalist and sustainable approach to effective skin care.

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