The innovative use of unusual plant-derived raw materials in the textile industry is still in its infancy. However, production residues such as fruit peels and fruit stones, which are by-products of food processing, are increasingly attracting the attention of textile producers who transform natural resources into new materials. These include the Italian company Orange Fiber, which uses groundbreaking technology to process orange peel into high-quality textiles.
In Italy, more than 700,000 tons of waste are produced every year as a result of the processing of citrus fruits. From the waste generated by the industrial production of orange juice, Orange Fiber produces a silky cellulose yarn which can be woven alone or in combination with other yarns. The obtained filament is enriched with an essential citrus oil, which is released through friction. Fabrics made of orange fibres are characterised by their lightness and elegant sheen, and are mainly used in the luxury segment.
The yarn extraction process was developed by founders Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena as part of their diploma thesis at the Politecnico di Milano. In 2014, they patented the extraction process and presented the first fabric woven from citrus fibres to the public. Orange Fiber has received several national and international awards.
In collaboration with the Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, they created their first clothing collection in 2017 from around 10,000 metres of woven fabric made from orange fibres. Until January 27, 2019, the exclusive pieces will be exhibited at the “Fashioned by Nature” exhibition at the renowned Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
This article was written by Mirjam Walser, co-founder of Faloa – the online shop for vegan, sustainable and fair fashion.
(Launch February 2019)