Banana fibre based apparel and accessories - Innovation @ E2Expo
Updated : 25-Oct-2020
Ananafit deals with sustainable development and has produced shirts and sarees out of over 45 natural fibres including banana, pineapple, bamboo, jute and even aloe vera. Ananafit has partnered with over 20 local weavers from villages outside Chennai and together they work towards producing sustainable goods. The founder of the company along with the other weavers have organised themselves into a formal body - The Anakaputhur Jute Weavers Association (AJWA)
Other than sarees and shirts, they also make baskets, wall hangings, footwear and accessories; all out of natural fibres. One can also buy plain 46" natural fabric which can be dyed easily, are durable and once dyed, the colours dont fade away easily. Ananafit now weaves pure banana fibre fabrics and mixed varieties largely with silk or cotton. They have even introduced denim materials purely made out of banana fibre and herbal fabrics weaved with natural fibre treated in a solution of neem, turmeric and tulsi.
The range of products produced are biodegradable and safe to the environment as the process uses natural and organic raw materials across the value chain.
Ananafit Pvt Ltd was the winner of Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards in 2011 for ‘Exceptional Leadership in Catalyzing Sustainability’ in the apparel and textile sector. In 2012, the company won the International Star for Quality Award under the ‘gold category’, in the 37th International Star for Quality Convention, an annual programme of Business Initiative Directions held in Geneva. In 2012, Limca Book of Records recognised the weavers of Anakaputhur for making saris with 25 varieties of 43 natural fibres such as the banana stem, cotton, bamboo, jute, pineapple, aloe vera, hemp, sea grass, lemongrass as well as recycled silk, linen and wool fibres, besides others. In 2015, at the Centenary Auditorium of the University of Madras, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the first National Handloom Day celebrations and unveiled a logo for the handloom sector. Among the tributes presented to him that day was a shawl woven by the AJWA using 25 types of natural fibre, including one from the banana stem. Mr. C.Sekar, one of the founders of Ananafit, has trained close 1000 weaver across India on fiber extraction in the places like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and North East.
The entire production processes of banana fibre textiles are organic, and are purely handmade. The traditional process is time consuming and involves a complex set of tasks. Great amount of care is required to avoid damage while extracting the fibre. Dyes are extracted from the natural products, including turmeric and indigo. Once dyed, the banana fibre sari looks no different from a silk-cotton one. Banana fiber fabric breathes better than others in the heat and humidity of summer in most parts of India. To maintain the new look for longer period, the fabric needs to be hand washed and care should be taken to avoid blue liquid and detergent.
Aanafit is an Eco friendly natural fibers based textile company. In 2010 by Mr. C.Sekar, one of the founders of Ananafit, who has been a weaver for over three decades now, decided to turn to natural fibers to create more awareness about eco-friendly fabrics. He found ways to extract fibers from unusual ingredients like pineapple, vetiver roots, sorrel leaves, and hemp among others. Together with the other weavers of Anakaputhur, he formed an association that helped the weavers to get bank loans and support from various textile research organisations. He also brought together about 12 women’s self-help groups under the banner of the association to extract banana stem fibre. Ananafit aims to innovatively be able to extract yarn from at least 50 natural fibers.