Exercising power for good is an admirable approach to wielding widespread influence. Austrian fiber company Lenzing embodies this perspective through its interpretation of key sustainability trends in the fashion and home textiles markets, while consistently leading the sector towards a circular economy and carbon neutrality.
Expert in addressing demands and providing solutions in various segments of the textile market, Lenzing’s drive to improve the broader industry goes far beyond the product. But it starts with its flagship brand TENCEL™, a consumer-facing fiber brand known for its branded lyocell and modal fibers, produced with environmentally responsible processes and derived from sustainably sourced natural raw material wood which is touted for its wide range of applications for sustainable textiles.
Closing the cycle
The teams behind the TENCEL™ brand said that looking back to 2022 and 2023, circularity is continuing to scale towards the industrial level.
According to a report by McKinsey & Co., circularity and closed-loop systems have been recognized as the “most important lever” fashion can leverage to address its environmental impact, and noted that 60% of fashion executives have already invested or planned to invest in closed loop recycling systems this year.
TENCEL™ said its collaborations on denim, ready-to-wear and underwear over the past year have “seen to reinforce this” and further Lenzing’s circular economy vision. Key collaborations include his work in denim, most notably a partnership with H&M that used TENCEL™ Lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology – a cellulose fiber made from recycled cotton and wood waste – to create an edition men’s denim collection limited edition of 8 pieces that materialized circular fashion.
For ready-to-wear, the TENCEL™ Limited Edition x COREVA™ collaboration explored the use of alternative raw materials such as hemp in textile production, resulting in a combination of two technologies: TENCEL limited edition hemp ™ by Lenzing and COREVA by Candiani Denim ™, the first biodegradable stretch denim in history, according to Lenzing.
Caroline Ledl, Head of Product Management Textiles, Lenzing Group, said the company “created the TENCEL™ Limited Edition initiative in 2021 to explore the use of alternative raw materials, such as hemp or orange pulp, in textile production.We wanted to push the traditional boundaries of fiber production by exploiting natural resources”.
“We appreciate working with like-minded companies, such as Candiani Denim, who have similar environmental goals to ours and are excited to see what customers think of products made with this new TENCEL™ Limited Edition hemp fiber,” Ledl added. .
A push towards zero carbon TENCEL™ branded lyocell fiber textile and home textile applications is already underway, supporting TENCEL™’s mission to deliver “True Carbon Zero”. “As more and more brands and retailers see the need to green their value chains, they have selected zero-carbon TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers to do so,” said Ebru Bayramoglu, Head of Global Business Development in Textile Business, Lenzing Group .
For 2022, these brands include Jacaranda, a UK-based luxury rug and carpet brand, which has taken the first step to launch the world’s first collection of handwoven rugs and carpets made with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers at 100% zero carbon emissions.
“We expect continued demand in 2023, and more collections using zero-carbon TENCEL™ brand fibers will hit the market next year, particularly in Asian markets,” Ebru added.
Also noteworthy is its TENCEL ™ Tree Climate fabric collection designed for the sportswear segment, focused on sustainable and functional outdoor fabrics that offer moisture management, thermal regulation, optimal breathability and a reduced carbon footprint. Through ultra-thin base layers, biodegradable wadding, and water- and wind-repellent outer layers made with TENCEL™ lyocell fibers, his collection offers a sustainable sportswear option that has answered consumer demand in this category.
Looking ahead to 2023, Lenzing expects greater versatility for even greater sustainable fabric offerings and continued innovation through the exploration of different textures, fiber applications and technologies to expand the use of TENCEL™ fibers as well as color and prints.
The company hopes to strengthen TENCEL™ fibers, specifically TENCEL™ Lyocell, beyond their typical application areas, with an eye to winterwear, home and nightwear, and formal wear, segments “that have more room for application developments with TENCEL™ Lyocell”. Known for their efficient moisture management, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are most often used in summer apparel or textile items that require a smooth, clean and cool hand. But as winter approaches, TENCEL™ predicts that the demand for warm fabrics will increase.
“In addition to the seasonal switch to winter, we are also facing an energy crisis this year, which will encourage many people to switch to warmer clothes this winter. This gives us the motivation to explore the use of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers in flannel and fleece fabrics for more comfortable and cozy garments,” said Hale Saraçoğlu, Head of Global Business Development, Fashion Wovens & Sweater Knits.
Lenzing also sees a growing need for printed fabrics, as “What is traditionally an essential for women’s collections is now also widely used for men’s collections,” noted Saraçoğlu. And as such, a collection of printed TENCEL™ Lyocell blended fabrics is in the works to inspire brands looking to enhance their collections with sustainable alternatives to printed fabrics, which have traditionally relied on the use of synthetic fibers, cotton or viscose for production. The collection will consist of a variety of vibrant digital prints with clean finish and peach finish on fabrics made from 100% TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers and TENCEL™ Lyocell blended fabrics.
“Fashion is more aware of using more sustainable fibers in fabrics, and it is the same for printed fabrics. With its low environmental impact, smoothness, moisture management properties and versatility, TENCEL™ Lyocell gives printed fabrics a breath of fresh air,” said Saraçoğlu.
In addition to prints, when it comes to denim, Lenzing also sees a demand for more colors than indigo.
As for the luxury segment, where responsible filament solutions are in high demand, Lenzing said there is growing interest in expanding the use of TENCEL™ LUXE to meet the needs. Created using eco-filament technology, the botanical and biodegradable filament is suitable for a wide range of applications and fabric developments with endless possibilities: from the finest silk-like couture and premium propositions to denim constructions, innovations seamless and sportswear, premium cotton blends for shirting, as well as agricultural and technical solutions. TENCEL™ LUXE’s expansion into other segments comes timely as occasionwear quickly returns to the spotlight during the fourth quarter and beyond.