Studies show that polyester releases 1174 milligrams of microplastics per wash. Cotton uses 20,000L of water per kilogram of fabric, equivalent to one pair of jeans. With this problem in mind, we set out to find an environmental fashion solution and researched alternatives in the textile industry.
After some research and testing, we decided to use Tencel for our pants. You might be wondering, what is Tencel-Lyocell? If you’ve never heard of it, it might sound like a type of medicine for muscles, but that can’t be farther from the truth. Tencel, or Tencel-Lyocell, is a fiber spun from the wood pulp of birch and eucalyptus. Here are our main reasons why we chose Tencel-Lyocell.
If you visit us or go to any store that sells Tencel, you will notice the feel and wear of the material resemble silk. It drapes beautifully with any kind of clothing you choose to wear. Lyocell also has controllable fibrillation in the pants, which helps maintain the smoothness of the fiber. In other words, it looks like the bottom left:
I’m guessing some of you who are reading this article feel itchy even when you wear plain cotton and wonder how some people could even find wool comfortable. Maybe you’ve looked at different materials to wear (since sometimes I get itchy wearing anything!) and haven’t found a suitable solution yet. In the photo, you can see one of the biggest benefits of Tencel – how cotton looks jagged compared to the fine spaghetti-like fiber of Tencel.
Lyocell is produced from (FSC-/-PEFC) certified forests and usually from sustainable birch of eucalyptus trees. They reuse 99.8% of the water and chemicals used during the fiber-making process, lessening the amount of waste into our environment and creating an award-winning enclosed loop for production. If you are sensitive to different chemicals, the material is also bleach-free during this entire process.
We tested the material by washing and putting it into a dryer multiple times. The fabric shrinks only 3% after the first wash and stays the same afterward. You can also travel with it anywhere as it is wrinkle resistant due to the microfibers. It is durable for travels as it is also moisture resistant, making sure that after your long travels you won’t feel gross and sweaty. Right now, we’re conducting tests to see how durable it is, and so far have not been able to break the pants yet.
I feel it necessary to also talk about Tencel’s disadvantages. If you are a price conscious then Tencel does carry a premium to it due to its manufacturing method, costing around $3-4 per square meter, which is quadruple the cost of cotton. Furthermore, there were also some controversies on how the forests were harvested and if they source it from other locations that are also not environmentally sourced. Some of these cons can be argued as unnecessary as the clothes are durable and an investment in your wardrobe rather than a fast fashion trend (a topic which I hope to cover some other time). The environmentally sourced issue is tricky but we are keeping our eyes and ears open for more news.
Anything else you might now about Tencel-Lyocell or any other eco-fabrics? Share your thoughts by commenting below.