Ethically manufacture clothing that is friendly to the environment is gaining popularity. Often referred to as the sustainable fashion or eco-fashion, this is one area that’s soon to take over the ramp. If you wish to stay in vogue too and want to upgrade your wardrobe, you could do it in style by shopping for some of the most sustainable fabrics like the bamboo fabric, banana fabric, etc.
Yes, the banana fabric is a real thing and is increasingly popular for numerous reasons. If you’ve not heard about it yet, read on to know all about it!
What Is Banana Fiber?
Banana fiber is an extract of the outer and inner portion of the stem, leaving behind the mushy fruit. It comes under the classification of bast fiber as it has great mechanical properties. Banana is a prime crop in over 129 countries across the world. It is thus a sustainable approach to depend on this plant for fiber and fabric.
How Do They Make It?
The plant has a pseudostem that is rich in fiber. However, farmers usually burn it after the harvest. A banana plant can produce harvest only once in its lifetime. This means that plant remains an agricultural residue after the harvest of the crop. Instead of throwing it away or burning it down, farmers are taking it to the loom instead. At the loom, they remove the excess material in the stem using a knife and build the yarn.
They process this by drying the fiber before weaving it into fabrics. While the banana fabric is not widely used, it is growing popular over the years.
The History of Banana Fiber
The fashion world claims this to be a new trend and a revolution. However, if one were to dig deep into the history of fashion and look for instances of banana fiber or banana fabric, it would come as a surprise to know that Japanese, Portuguese, and Indian cultures have a mention of these from several centuries ago.
Historical evidence shows that banana fabric was in use in Japan in the 13th century. The fabric was an affordable substitute for silk and in use for making clothes for ceremonial occasions.
The culture of using banana fiber for clothes was prevalent in Nepal, too. In this region, they use the outermost sheath for weaving clothes and the inner sheath for weaving mats and sunshades. Besides these countries, archeological findings show that the first use of banana fabric was in use in New Guinea around the year 8,000 BC. Fashion has always seen a pattern where the trends from the past resurface after several years. This one is just one trend coming back in fashion after a few centuries!
Banana Fabric and the Environment
Besides being a sustainable fabric and low cost, it is also growing in popularity as a vegan alternative to silk. The cruelty-free fabric is much softer than its bast fiber counterpart after processing it through a cellulosic yarn. The beautiful sheen of the fabric is also gaining its popularity as the banana silk! As the yarn is completely biodegradable, the environmentalists have their vote for this fabric.
The animal-free textile is breathable, absorbent, and ideal for tropical climates.
Banana Fiber in the Fashion Industry
Over the past few years, fashion designers have been striving to reduce their carbon footprint. From hiring local artists to work on their clothes for fashion shows to embracing an ethical approach to creating the dresses, there’s a huge change. However, the paradigm shift was with the designers expressing a willingness to start using fabrics that are away from the conventional ones. For instance, the use of material like modal, hemp, bamboo, recycled nylon, denim, viscose, etc., are creating a revolution.
The most recent addition on the block is the banana fabric. While there’s yet to be a complete resurgence of sustainable fabrics in the world of fashion, the recent adaptions are the big steps in the right direction!
While banana clothes are yet to become a fad, the use of fiber remains prevalent in many industries. Some of them are paper, folders, filter sheets, sanitary pads, baby diapers, etc. The fact that the fiber is eco friendly, biodegradable, water-resistant, doesn’t shrink or fade, and ideal for tropical climates are making it gain popularity. The commercial value of the fiber is growing significantly over the years.