Behind Pangaia’s New ‘Plnt’ and ‘Frut’ Fabrics

Material sciences company Pangaia’s latest bio-based fibers are a cocktail of pineapple, nettle and banana origins.

Aptly named “Plnt Fiber” (a blend of 60 percent bamboo lyocell, 20 percent Himalayan nettle, 20 percent SeaCell lyocell) and “Frut Fiber” (a blend of 60 percent bamboo lyocell, 20 percent pineapple leaf fiber, 20 percent banana leaf fiber) are the latest additions to Pangaia’s suite of natural materials.

The fabrics are developed as an alternative to cotton, due to fiber’s oft-cited exhaustive resource use, as well as commonly used synthetics. On Thursday, the company also unveiled a collection of soft classics (hoodies, shorts, track pants) made with the fabrics sold exclusively via the brand’s website, Thepangaia.com. In a push toward circularity, the products will also contain digital identity passports powered by Eon.

Following the collection’s release, the fabrics will be available to Pangaia’s brand partners.

“The introduction of Plnt Fiber and Frut Fiber adds to Pangaia’s portfolio of material innovations and represents a true embodiment of the brand’s commitment to its material philosophy — ‘high-tech naturalism’” — which involves utilizing the abundance of nature augmented by high tech processes, sustainable chemistries and processes to expand the functionality of textiles, a brand spokesperson said.

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When it comes to materials, nothing is off limits — Pangaia has tapped seaweed, eucalyptus and more to unfurl new fiber innovations with an eye for its high-tech, nature-oriented ethos as it endeavors toward a positive climate impact in fashion. The company is a vocal advocate for sustainability and collaboration, having teamed up with a United Nations-adjacent campaign called “Fashion Avengers” and Jaden Smith’s Just Water, in the past.

Although nettle, a component of Plnt Fiber, may present some sourcing limitations due to the specific ecosystem needs, Frut Fiber is predominately made from agricultural waste representing yet untapped potential in food and fiber waste streams.

The fabrics have not been tested for compostability or biodegradability, but a brand spokesperson assured that “natural fibers are inherently renewable and biodegradable,” and the 20 percent SeaCell lyocell, for one, is certified by the Belgian certification company Vincotte for “OK compost home,” meaning it can compost in someone’s backyard.

The Life Cycle Assessments on the materials are yet to be obtained, as the brand stressed the “complexities of the proprietary blends of fibers” that necessitates further development “based on bespoke research and development to ensure that the results are valid and reliable and can stand up to scrutiny.”

Certain substitutes are made to ensure the materials are renewable. In place of what would be viscose, Pangaia harvests bamboo lyocell in Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests and in closed loop production methods that enable reduced water and energy use, as well as the ability to reuse solvents.

Though it’s not yet clear what production capacity could look like considering potential sourcing limitations, Pangaia said, “Each of the supply chains for each new fiber is currently under development and being expanded, their capacity will grow and change as we evolve and perfect them. As Frut Fiber is predominantly made from agricultural waste, it can effectively be sourced anywhere around areas where fruit is grown/fruit plantations. However, nettle in Plnt Fiber, for example, has more sourcing limitations due to the specific nature of the plant’s ecosystem.”

Because the company is private, Pangaia does not disclose funding sources fueling its proprietary science and innovations.

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