As the name suggests, banana fabric is a fabric made from banana peel fibers. It is obtained from outer and inner shells, which have a dense fiber structure. Just like hemp fiber obtained from the flowering and stem parts, banana peels have fibers that can be turned into textiles. This process has actually been practiced for centuries. However, the world of fashion and design has only recently realized the potential of bananas in the textile industry.
History of banana fiber fabric
The Philippines was known as the first place where banana peels and stems were made into fibers. This island nation is home to countless banana trees. Therefore, the indigenous people of the region have been producing banana fabric for thousands of years.
Some other Asian countries have historically experimented with producing fabrics with banana-based fibers. However, the concept has never been caught, as in the Philippines. On the other hand, it is expected that India will gradually replace the Philippines as the world’s banana fiber center in near future.
As the interaction between Asia and the Western lands increased, textile manufacturers from England and the USA began to wonder about the potential of banana fiber. Since then, Western fashion has occasionally made several attempts with this exotic fabric. However, due to some manufacturing disadvantages, it has a much smaller market share commercially than common alternative fabrics.
How is banana fiber fabric made?
The production processes of banana fabric work as follows:
Separation: First, the fibers in the banana peels and stems must be separated from the unusable components. Various techniques can be used to achieve the desired result, including soaking, which involves soaking the banana peels in water or a chemical to soften and separate the ingredients. The unusable parts of the banana peel can also be sliced. However, this approach requires more effort.
Bundling and drying: After the separated fibers are obtained, they are gathered together and dried. At this stage, the inner and outer fibers are usually held together. Because it is difficult to separate them when wet.
Grouping: After the fibers are dried, they are divided into groups according to quality. Group “A” consists of the best of the best. Thus, it is used for alternative applications to silk. Some manufacturers may only have two groups. However, some manufacturers may also produce a variety of different grades of banana fiber.
Spinning and weaving: The separated fibers are then spun into yarn. The yarn is processed and dyed. At the end of these processes, clothes, accessories, decor items or industrial products are touched and made ready for use.
Usage areas of banana fiber fabrics
Banana fiber is used very differently depending on whether it is made with its inner or outer peel and stem lining. The inner lining is so soft that it is often compared to silk. Like silk, banana fabric is extremely delicate. Banana fiber can be used for blouses, shirts, dressing gowns, underwear, slips, aprons, bathrobes, evening wear, etc. It is used as a substitute for almost any garment made from silk.
When it comes to accessories, sustainable, organic products are becoming more and more popular. Therefore, you can expect to see banana fiber used more often in making scarves, hats and gloves.
What is banana fiber yarn?
Banana fiber yarn is a type of yarn that can be easily found in haberdashery selling yarn or online yarn selling websites and can be purchased at affordable prices. Although its usage areas are not very common, it is still widespread enough to return the trade. The silky feel of this yarn is enough to make you buy banana yarn. Being vegan (herbal) and being supplied in a sustainable way are extra criteria. No banana tree is harmed in the making of the banana thread. It is widely used especially in fine knitted fabrics. It is known that, unlike straight sewing machines, it is generally used in overlock machines for the purpose of saving.
Banana yarn, a member of the Bast fiber family, is similar to linen. It is mostly stiff, but it softens with use. It is ideal for decorative household items and often combined with cotton, silk or hemp. Due to its light and comfortable grip, banana fiber can be used for sewing pajamas and T-shirt models, especially summer clothes. Because of its relative strength, Banana fiber yarn varieties are used as a packaging material for paper money, marine ropes, and agricultural products.
Is banana fiber yarn and fabric production sustainable?
Banana fiber production has a neutral impact on the environment. Banana fabric is in a special category among natural fibers in terms of sustainability. This is because this fabric is derived from a waste product. When the banana fruit is used, the banana peels are thrown away. So turning them into cloth will not do anyone any harm.
However, we cannot say that banana production is always sustainable. There is no guarantee that the production is made by considering the ecosystem conditions. Although India has come a long way in sustainable textile production, it is still far from advanced production mechanisms. This means that the use of synthetic pesticides may be widespread in the country.
When the right production mechanisms are put in place, banana fabric production can be in harmony with the environment. It is expected that the global trend towards sustainability will gradually bring banana fiber into foreplay in the natural fabric range.