Bananatex is the world’s first durable, technical fabric created entirely from abacá banana plants cultivated naturally. It was developed by QWSTION - a Swiss bag brand and material innovator, in collaboration with a yarn specialist and a weaving partner, both based in Taiwan.
Bananatex® can be composted to close the product life cycle, from plant to bag to soil again. Bananatex® has also achieved Cradle to Cradle Certified® Platinium, the highest level of certification available for products that are secure, circular, and produced ethically.
Our recent interaction with Hannes Schoenegger, Co-founder and chief executive officer of Bananatex, talks about the company’s innovative textile material Bananatex®, its applications, and the company’s future plans.
YnFx: What is the inspiration behind Bananatex®?
Schoenegger: The constant search for better answers to the important questions of materials and their ecological, economical and social impact. After working and experimenting with various plant-based materials such as cotton, bamboo, linen, or hemp, we discovered the banana fiber in 2015 and developed a technical fabric together with our partners in Taiwan.
YnFx: What makes Bananatex® distinctive from the other conventional outdoor materials?
Schoenegger: Firstly, the fiber grows in a permaculture without any chemicals, no fertiliser and no water in addition to rain. it does not „consume“ land but is often used to re-forest areas that have been destroyed - therefore supporting biodiversity. Secondly, it's a very strong fiber, and the tearing and abrasion strength is amongst the highest in nature. Last but not least, the fabric can be recycled to new yarn in a technical cycle - or it can be held in a natural cycle by just composting the fabric.
YnFx: How and where do you source its raw materials?
Schoenegger: The majority of this banana kind (called musa textilis) is growing in the Philippines. There are also programs in Ecuador and Costa Rica.
YnFx: What is the environmental footprint of Bananatex® fabric and how is it contributing to the industry’s journey toward sustainability?
Schoenegger: The cultivation as described above, the fact that it's still 100% natural (cradle-to-cradle material health platinum) and therefore fully circular.
YnFx: What are the possible applications of Bananatex®?
Schoenegger: We started with our QWSTION bags, backpacks, hip bags, tote bags, and shoppers. Meanwhile, we have seen other products in the market, sneakers, hats, sofas, and boots. There will be more applications coming soon.
YnFx: What are the future plans of the company?
Schoenegger: We want to cause positive change - therefore we hope to partner with major brands that have an honest intention to work with alternative materials on a long-term horizon. meaningful volumes bring ecological and economical success to Bananatex® and everyone involved in the supply chain, from farming communities to local processing facilities to yarn spinner to dyeing houses to weaving partners.
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