Fashion Innovation: interview with Rosa Nascimento

Fashion Innovation: interview with Rosa Nascimento

Fashion Innovation

Are you interested in Sustainable Fashion Innovation? Join us in a talk with Rosa Nascimento and Mônica Gonçalves on April, 3rd. Click here for more info.  This event is free for all the students and alumni community of our sustainable fashion incubator program. For those who are not our students yet there is a cost of 12 euro.

Banana is a healthy fruit. It is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, B1, B2, and B6. It also contains minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and folic acid.

Usually, people consume the banana and throw away the garbage. Both consumer and banana industries often waste their valuable waste. But this is changing.

Banana residues have been used in many industries, especially in ethical fashion innovation and interior ethical design.   


Do you want to know how? To help you discover the full potential of banana waste in the eco-fashion industry, we are organizing a talk with the researchers and teachers of The Slow Fashion Innovation Program. Rosa Nascimento, Master student in Biochemistry by FCT of Nova University, will be one of our speakers. She will explain more about circular fashion made using banana residues.  Below you will find the interview we did with her. You can make now your registration for this event that will happen on April 3, at 7:00 pm (Portugal time). We have only 15 spots available. For those who are not in Portugal is possible to participate online.

1. Who is Rosa?

I am a finalist biochemistry master's degree student with an entrepreneurial vision.

I like meeting new places and people and I'm always ready to learn new things and accept new challenges.

My family is a banana producer at Madeira island, so I know very well the banana production steps and the great number of wastes that are generated. Because of this and my interest in the circular economy, I am developing some new application for the banana production residues.

I am currently working on an entrepreneurship team project named Banana Box that aims to create a sustainable application for the banana production leavings (boxes), respecting the ideals of the circular economy. In my biochemistry master's degree thesis I am studying the development of polymeric matrices based on banana plant extracts for biomedical applications, under the supervision of Prof. Dra Luísa Neves, Laboratory of Membrane Processes, LAQV-requimte group, FCT NOVA.

Recently I started a new challenge: being a Spark Agency's ambassador. With this, I intend to get to know better the business area, improve my teamwork and my soft skills.

In the future, I would like to be part of a multidisciplinary team, working on projects that inspire me.

  1. What motivated the creation of Bananabox and who is part of its team?

We developed our project, BananaBox, during the entrepreneurship course - 2018, at FCT NOVA.

Our team is formed by 3 master students from FCT NOVA:

- Bruno Fernandes, a civil engineering master's degree student. Has the ability to prospect and analyze the needs of the market, as well as knowledge about the characteristics of the materials.

- Stefán do Ó, mechanical engineering master's degree student. Reveals knowledge of industrial mechanics and computer science, the capacity for initiative and conflict management, as well as the spirit of mutual help.

- Rosa Nascimento, biochemistry master's degree student. Demonstrates biochemical and environmental knowledge, leadership and motivation as well as negotiation, persuasion and communication skills.

We are young entrepreneurs, convinced of our success, with team spirit, resilience and focus on achieving our goals!

3. How long are you in the market?

We are not in the market. We are improving our prototype and business plan, by participating in entrepreneurship competitions.

  1. With what kind of materials are you working with and why?

We use the banana tree pseudostem because is the material with the best features to develop our product.

  1. Do you have investors?

Not yet.

  1. Have you participated in any contest for startups? How it was this experience?

Yes, I participated in the entrepreneurship course at FCT NOVA and in the European Innovation Academy, 2018. Now, I and my team are participating in the Montepio Acredita Portugal competition. I think these academies/contests are very useful because they provide us the basics to build a business and they allow you to connect with people with different ways of looking at things, which is advantageous for more effective problem-solving.

  1. What is your academic education? The knowledge you study you have acquired have being useful to manage your startup Project?

I have a biochemistry bachelor and I am a biochemistry master finalist. The knowledge I have acquired throughout my academic career allows me to have leadership and motivation as well as negotiation, persuasion and communication skills, essential to work as a team. I develop too biochemical and environmental knowledge, that is very important to develop our product.

  1. What kind of residues of banana can be used?

All, depending on the application: roots, pseudostems, stems, leaves and flowers.

  1. There is banana production in Portugal? Where?

Yes, at Madeira Island.

  1. In what kind of products banana residues have been used? Can you give examples?

Japan and Nepal: banana stem used as a source of natural fiber since the 13thcentury.

Used in the sustainable textile industry: India, Philippines, and Japan

India, fashion designer Siddhant Beriwal: weaver develop a fabric that looks like denim but is made from banana fiber and cotton; helps to prevent sweat.

Micronesia startup Green Banana Paper: banana waste to create a sturdy and natural handmade paper for elegant wallets.

French eco designers of FIBandCO: test its use to replace the traditional laminate of wood. The product is called Green Blade and is 100% natural

More applications:

  1. Is the transformation of banana waste into sustainable fabrics involves the treatment of chemicals? What is your opinion on the use of chemicals in the processing of sustainable raw materials? Can they be harmful to the environment and to humans?

Depending on the application of the waste and the necessary treatment, it may be necessary to use chemicals which may have a greater or lesser impact on the environment/animals. It is necessary to consider the positive and negative effects of the use of waste. Materials and procedures that have the least possible negative impact on the environment should always be used.

  1. What are the benefits of using bananas as sustainable fabric for fashion innovation?

The main benefit of using some production residues in eco fashion is that we are using a material that already exists and is useless. By using these residues we are giving it a new value, respecting the values of the circular economy and being sustainable.

  1. What advice would you give to those who are thinking about creating a sustainable fashion startup and using leathers and fabrics made from bananas?

Banana is cultivated in more than 130 countries, producing 145 million tons banana/year. Only 12wt% of the plant is used, generating 220 tons of residues/ banana crop’s hectare. As you can see, there is a lot of residues generated. But why let them be residues? Why not use them and create some new, sustainable and fashionable applications?

Let’s shake the fashion industry and help our planet, by using banana production residues!


Photo by from Pexels

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