Decoding Plant Fibres in the Luxury Fashion Industry

Sustainable plant fibres in luxury fashion

Condé Nast College’s MA Fashion Media Strategy student, Nishta Madaan looks into the use of plant fibres in the luxury fashion industry.

How they use Plant Fibres in the Luxury Fashion Industry


The use of our precious natural resources in the luxury industry has increased substantially over the past years. As some plant fibres have been relevant to the fashion industry for centuries, we now see some newcomers entering the market, making a remarkable impact on the brands, consumers and the environment. Let us take you through some of our favourite plant fabrics.




Hemp has recently gained much attention, but it has been around since the Roman era. Having its origins in a cannabis plant, it offers durability and comfort, as well as a low environmental impact during cultivation. It saves water, is four times stronger than Cotton and retains colour better than any other fabric. What could be better than that?

Aside from making recent headlines for its climate-change donation, Patagonia has always been committed to giving back to the planet. Hence, as a part of their clothing and an effort to encourage their consumers to think more environmentally friendly, they have introduced several hemp-blended lines over the years. 

Pinatex via Instagram, 2022



Leather, produced from the skin of animals, is one of the most unsustainable luxury materials in the fashion industry. What’s more, it is also finished with various dangerous substances that harm the environment. This is where Pinatex comes to the rescue!

Made of pineapple leaves, Pinatex is a rare product of design thinking that simultaneously hits all sustainability buttons. It has very high environmental and welfare impacts, generating new income streams for subsistence farmers and enabling them to utilise their crops fully. As a leather alternative, Pinatex is strong, sturdy, water-resistant, and wear-resistant, making it well-suited for everyday use. 

Image of cotton plant

                                                                         Krohn via Unsplash, 2018


The world’s largest non-food crop, Cotton’s history can be dated back to 5,000 B.C. Most people also prefer it because of its absorbent and breathable properties. However, over the years, toxic chemicals in its production have negatively impacted soil health. According to Stella Mccartney on the brand’s website, “Growing organic cotton eliminates toxic chemicals which are better for the health of people and the health of soils.” As a result, people are increasingly opting for ‘organic cotton’. The soil can store more water and carbon, so it can help combat climate change as well.


What lies ahead for plant fibres in the Luxury Industry?


The luxury fashion industry is undoubtedly moving in that direction of embracing plant-based textiles. It may be slow, but luxury companies like Kering are consistently committing to and adopting creative alternatives for their textile products. Innovative and responsible designs are indeed the future of fashion, but will they be plant-based? That’s a question only the future can answer. 


By MA Fashion Media Strategy student, Nishta Madaan


Vogue Education Presents: Philippa Grogan, Sustainability Consultant at Eco-Age