School of Design
Carmen Hijosa is a social entrepreneur and designer. In the 1980s she co-founded and was designer of ‘Chesneau Leather Goods’, a manufacturing company of luxury leather goods in Ireland, exporting to key outlets throughout the world such as Harrods and Liberty in London, and Takashimaya in Japan.
Subsequently Carmen worked as a design consultant for the World Bank and the EU in South America, the Philippines, Thailand, EU. This work experience has been the base of the background knowledge, philosophy and design perspective that culminated with the development of new materials using natural fibres and skills from developing countries.
Through her PhD, Carmen is currently developing a new material that is made from natural fibre extracted from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant. The new material called Piñatex™ can be used as an alternative to leather and will be attractive to the fashion, furniture, interiors and car industries because it is not petro-based. It is natural, sustainable and undemanding of the environment.
Ananas Anam, Carmen’s project, combines high social, ethical and environmental values. It will produce a natural, sustainable material and it is being inspired by the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy. In November 2012 the Ananas Anam project has been selected to take part in the InnovationRCA Incubator programme.