Materials & Surfaces

The story of a practical, functional textile material from banana fibers

Bananatex®, developed by Swiss brand QWSTION, is a remarkable material developed from the fibers of Abacá banana plants with interesting functional, ethical and technical features.

QWSTION was founded in Switzerland in 2008 with the aim to challenge conventional ways of designing, making and using bags and other comparable everyday goods. The brand’s focus on material research led to the development of a new textile material crafted from regeneratively grown banana plants, which goes under the name of  Bananatex.

With the goal of providing a circular alternative to the prevailing linear production model for these everyday items, this material has been made openly available to any company interested in substituting plastics with plant-based alternatives.

Bananatex by QWSTION

Bananatex’s creation process

Unlike many other plant based textile fibers, the manufacturing of Bananatex is pretty unconventional and interesting. Starting from the Abacá banana plants organically cultivated in the Philippines, the material undergoes several custom developed and refined processing stages, which, together with well known Swiss quality control standards and design, make it quite unique.

First, the raw Abacá fiber is converted into paper. Then it is taken to a Taiwanese spinning mill; where local precision and specific know-how deriving from years of experimentations are put into place: here, such made fiber-oriented paper sheets are finely sliced and twisted to create a yarn, which can eventually be woven into a fabric, resulting in Bananatex.

Bananatex by QWSTION _ fibers of Abaca banana plants
Bananatex by QWSTION

Properties & Features

The material is 100% biodegradable and Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified since 2021. Once the Abacá fibers have been transformed into yarn, the yarn itself can be dyed with an any dyeing method, while its plain, natural, warm white color reflects the actual color of the original fibers. QWSTION has been successfully using GOTS-certified dyes and methods for the colored version of the yarn and fabrics. An additional natural beeswax based coating can give this material a smooth, water-resistant finish and a supple hand feel.

Bananatex fabric, available in different weight ranges, is then sold in rolls by the meter with  standard width of 1.55 m. Also notable, the use of Abaca banana plants specifically avoids the depletion of the local  environment, as these plants are not part of the food-industry related monoculture. The fiber originates from plants growing wild in permaculture or within  agro forestry programmes that re-forest areas in the perspective of regenerative eco-systems.

Bananatex by QWSTION _ fibers of Abaca banana plants
Bananatex by QWSTION


The fabric’s combination of strength, durability, softness, and lightweight makes it ideal for products such as bags, backpacks, laptop sleeves, and other everyday use accessories. Moreover, Its flexibility and eco-friendly nature make it a great choice for other industrial sectors such as footwear, jackets, interiors and furniture design.

Some examples include  the partnership between well known brands such as Good News and H&M for the production of a sneaker collection, a vegan Logo tote bag part of Stella McCartney 2023 Autumn collection, and the design Lounge Chair ENSŌ crafted in partnership with Swiss furniture company Lehni. Most recently, the material was also used for the creation of Balenciaga’s New Triple S Sneakers.

Bananatex by QWSTION _ fibers of Abaca banana plants
Bananatex by QWSTION

Beyond traditional applications

QWSTION’s unique approach to product and material design involves developing and sourcing most materials directly from local suppliers with exceptional control over quality and design. Bananatex represents a sustainable and innovative material transcending traditional applications, offering a circular alternative to synthetic fabrics. Its versatility and eco-friendly properties make it a promising choice specifically for conscious consumers and designers alike.


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