History capsule, Consumption, Environment

Have you ever wondered: what were buttons made of before plastic? There was metal of course, but metal is heavy and you can't color it... So what did we do before?

It was during the design of our Ekoloji collection that we asked ourselves this question. Because with our desire to make a collection with a low ecological impact, it went without saying that we would use plastic as little as possible.

So we looked to the past to find a solution for the future.

Buttons today

In the middle of the 20th century, the development of plastics and their use marked the end of all previously used materials (far too expensive to be competitive). Nowadays most buttons are made of plastic (either polyester or acrylic).

And yes! The buttons are made of OIL!

The front buttons

Ancient buttons were made of bone, wood, horn, ivory, leather, metal or mother-of-pearl. And before being pushed aside by plastic, corozo was used to make many buttons.

There we had found what we wanted! The Corozo button!

But Corozo: What exactly is it?

It is called vegetable ivory, because it closely resembles animal ivory, but in fact Corozo comes from seeds of the Tagua palm (which grows mainly in South America) which are found dried at the foot of the trees. These seeds are then collected to be transformed into magnificent objects, such as buttons.

It is naturally white with a fine marbled grain structure. It offers excellent durability and scratch resistance, while its porous nature makes it an excellent material for staining.

And Corozo: is it ecological?

Palmier Tagua_ Photo By The lifted lorax
Tagua Palm Tree_ Photo By The lifted lorax
  • Corozo can only be harvested after falling from the tree. Otherwise it wouldn't be strong enough to produce buttons. We don't need to cut down the tree. The trees produce around 20 kilograms of seeds each year, sometimes much more. That's roughly the weight of the tusks recovered from a 6-ton elephant! It is therefore a renewable and natural resource.
  • To make a bud, only part of the seed is used, the rest is used in several ways. First, the powdered residue is used as animal feed and the shells as fuel. For example, the skin of the tagua was used for a very long time to pave streets. It's a versatile resource.
  • Corozo is very resistant to scratches and has great longevity. What makes it a material sustainable and perfect for making buttons .
  • And unlike plastic which harms our environment a little more every year, Corozo is biodegradable .

Today the Corozo button is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in the fashion industry thanks to the environmental and sustainable movement.

At EKOLOJI, we use it in our TOKYO and SYDNEY styles.


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