The International Day of Happiness, established by the United Nations, is a global event celebrated annually on the 20th of March. It serves to remind everyone that being happy is a human right and is worth celebrating. Happiness is subjective, and its meaning may vary from one person to the next. As a result, there are no traditions set forth for this day.

Given the current events around the world, I took a long time thinking about what we should be celebrating this year. I came to the conclusion that food is a universal love language, so why not celebrate fruit and veg today? Food makes us happy, and its impact on fashion is one worth celebrating, too.

As we move into a more conscious industry, where we think about the materials we use in producing garments, I’m happy that we’re taking baby steps to change both our closets and climate, for the better. From pineapple and mushroom leather to orange peel silk, here are some of the innovative natural materials being used to create more eco-friendly options in fashion right now.


Apple leather is a bio-based material made from the pomace and peels left over from making apple juice. It originated in Northern Italy when its inventor, Alberto Volcan, wanted to find ways to make use of the waste from the region’s fruit and juice compote industry. In most recent years, the bio material has found life in shoes and accessories such as bags and watch straps. It is considered a renewable material, which means it reduces our CO2 impact significantly when compared to other faux leather materials, which are produced and made from fossil fuels.


Banana fibers from the Philippines are now used to develop a waterproof technical fabric called Bananatex. The durable fabric, created from Abacá banana plants, is produced in a natural ecosystem of sustainable mixed agriculture and forestry where the plant is self-sufficient, and requires no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water. Bananatex has also not harmed the region’s biodiversity, but has aided in the reforestation of areas once eroded due to monocultural palm plantations.


Mushrooms are the new renewable, sustainable alternative to leather.  Made from mycelium, the underground root-like system of fungi, this leather alternative is soft, durable and less harmful to the environment. The bio-based materials have been used by fashion giants such as Adidas and Stella McCartney. Tunisia based brand, Boyo Basic has joined in on the action too, replacing synthetic materials with the infinitely renewable mycelium.


The long, fibrous leaves left over after harvesting pineapples are being used to develop Piñatex, otherwise known as pineapple leather. The innovative natural textile is one of the most popular sustainable alternative leathers available on the market, with Syrian designer Mariam Al Sibai leading the wave in the region.

The fibers are extracted naturally, dried and then mixed with a corn-based material to mimic the texture of cow leather. Not only does the eco-friendly material bring new income streams to subsistence farmers, allowing them to fully utilize their crops, but it is also a durable alternative that doesn’t use the petro-chemicals commonly needed for faux leather, which is produced from plastic.


Orange Fiber, an Italian company, states that they have “patented a technology that extracts cellulose from the leftovers that remain after the fruits are juiced” to produce a biodegradable, luxurious alternative to silk. Around 700,000 tons of juice byproducts are produced each year. In the past, they would be discarded, but not anymore! The silk alternative also acts as wearable body cream, because of the natural oils found in the fruit, such as vitamins A, C and E, which are released and then absorbed through the skin.