Ganni’s latest creation is literally bananas. The Danish brand has crafted a three-piece tracksuit set made from banana waste, offering an alternative to synthetic fibers typically used for athleisure. While still not perfected, the set’s sustainable fabric could help eliminate some of the carbon emissions generated on banana farms.
Pyratex, a textile innovation company, helped Ganni turn banana waste into fabric as part of the latter’s Fabrics of the Future initiative. The project strives to make fashion more circular with low impact materials — of which there are nearly two dozen others in the works, according to Vogue Business — and hopes to find and implement the most effective solutions through a process of trial and error.
The big picture — “You cannot innovate fabric to perfection in a lab,” Ganni’s chief executive Nicolaj Reffstrup, who co-founded the Danish brand with his wife and creative director Ditte Reffstrup, told Vogue Business. “The [climate crisis] is so dire, we need to leapfrog our way into this.” Reffstrup believes Ganni’s capsule collections, including its three-piece tracksuit set, can serve as a testing ground for new fabrics and technologies.
Before its banana waste fabric, Ganni collaborated with companies including Mylo, Vegea, Renewcell, and Infinna. It also plans to work with another six fabric-driven companies in the next year. In total, Vogue Business reports, the brand is working with 26 fabrics as part of its mission to halve its emissions by 2027.
How it works — The banana waste fabric, called Pyratex Element 2, is made from leftover stalk of the banana tree, which is heavily pruned after the collection of its fruit. To turn that rough, high-strength material into fabric, Pyratex mechanically processes and softens it before blending it with organic cotton. The addition of cotton allows for the banana waste fabric to function in knitting machines, although Pyratex is seeking to reduce the amount of virgin cotton required for blending.
Meanwhile, Ganni is focused on making Pyratex Element 2 more accessible. The banana waste fabric will soon expand to other Ganni pieces besides its three-piece tracksuit set and will be sold globally on the brand’s website. A price has yet to be determined, but that’s something Ganni is working on too. Pyratex Element 2 currently costs eight times more than organic cotton, a cost Ganni hopes to lower but aware other companies probably won’t invest in.
“Maybe a brand like ours can accommodate it, but we need the H&Ms of the world to adopt fabrics like these to have the proper impact at scale,” Reffstrup told Vogue Business. “And they can only do it if it’s somewhat competitive from a price point of view.” But as the launch of Ganni’s Pyratex Element 2 collection becomes more of a reality, Reffstrup said the most important factor isn’t price or design. Rather, it’s letting consumers know there are alternatives out there — and hopefully, Ganni’s arrives soon.