Instead of plastic, we wanted to use plant-based material for buttons. Corozo buttons are made from the Tagua palm nut, which grows in the equatorial lowland rainforests of South America. Our corozo is sourced from Ecuador and then it is made into buttons in Spain. This vegetal Ivory has been the preferred material for button production in the past. We are using undyed corozo buttons in 100% of our garments. They have a unique pattern, are durable, resistant to scratching and changes into a warm, antiqued cream color as it ages.
Each year the palm Phytelephas produces ten to twelve mocochas, which holds 20 individual tagua nuts. These groups then fall to the ground or are cut from the tree. The tagua nuts are usually extracted from the penco at the site where they are found. When the nut is first taken from the palm, the inside is a gooey jelly-like substance, but after an eight to twelve week drying process, the nut becomes hard. Once dried, it is sliced and processed into Corozo blanks.
Other than being biodegradable, they are a sustainable local resource for two reasons. Firstly, the Tagua industry supports 30,000 families in Ecuador. Secondly, vegetable ivory can generate up to five times the income of banana plantations and cattle ranches, industries that often lead to rainforest deforestation.