Fashion & Lifestyle

6 Innovative Fashion Materials Made Using Food Byproducts

The fashion industry is making rapid advancement towards becoming an eco-friendly and cruelty-free industry. One of the most innovative developments has been the use of food byproducts for fabrics and materials. The fashion industry has had only limited fabric choices for years. But not anymore! Some innovative and creative minds have come forward with sustainable fashion materials that can be developed using edible waste:

Orange Fiber

In Italy, tons of citrus peels are discarded. Although the citrus peels are biodegradable, the cost to discard them is very high. Enrica Arena and Adriana Santanocito found an innovative way to use the citrus waste. Orange Fiber aims to use the discarded orange peel and transform it into a soft, silky fabric ideal for clothes. The material is very similar to viscose in that it is made from cellulose, and can be easily mixed with other materials like silk and cotton, but it doesn’t involve the cutting down of trees.

Milk Yarn/QMilch

We have heard of a lot of products that can be made using milk. Milk Yarn is one such product that is made using the milk that is no longer viable for consumption. A German fashion designer has invented a new fabric which is made of sour milk, QMilch. QMilch is the first man-made fiber produced entirely without using any chemicals. It is a great innovation as it not only recycles waste milk, but it does so without using any chemicals!

Along with being an environmentally friendly fabric, the amino acids in the protein are antibacterial, anti-aging and that can help regulate blood circulation and body temperature. The innovators of this fabric are looking forward to experimenting with it for use in making cosmetics.

Pineapple Leaf Leather

Pinatex is a natural fabric made up of cellulose fibres that are extracted from pineapples leaves. It is one of the most famous and innovative developments in vegan fashion trends. The use of this fruit-based leather has already been spotted at Met Gala 2017. The founder of this fabric, Dr. Carmen Hijosa was inspired to find a cruelty-free alternative to leather.  And he did! Pineapple leaf leather is not only a cruelty-free leather but it also works as a source of extra income for the farmers as it is made out of that part of the fruit that is usually disposed.


Parblex is a material made from potato waste that is suitable for both the interiors and the fashion markets. It is a bioplastic developed by Chip[s] Board which is primarily used in the fashion industry for accessories and fastenings. This eco-friendly fashion material comes in different colors, smoke, tortoiseshell, and snow. Chip[s] Board is well known for its zero-waste production system under which even the offcuts from the production process are reincorporated back into the process.

Wine leather

Wine leather uses the skin, stalk, and seeds of grapefruit to make leather. The fruit by-product turned leather is a big step towards a cruelty-free fashion industry. Vegea Textiles developed this material using the leftovers from the winemaking process resulting in wine-hued leather without the need to kill animals and has also received support from the EU. The only question that comes to mind when we think about a ‘wine dress’ is that if it would become more fashionable as it ages?


NatureWorks developed Ingeo, a material made using sugar extracted from corn. Ingeo is a color-fast, wrinkle-free, resilient, hypoallergenic and stain resistant eco-friendly fabric. This fabric is much like polyester except for the fact that it does not need to be chemically treated. The most interesting fact about dresses made up of Ingeo fabric is that you can just throw it on the compost pile and it will decompose within 60 to 90 days.

This innovative use of edible waste is becoming very popular in recent times. Using the food byproducts for making fashion fabrics has made it possible to aim two targets at the same time by making fashion eco-friendly and by putting the otherwise waste products to creative use. Could you have imagined that one man’s food waste can turn into another man’s fashion statement!