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Lyocell is a regenerated cellulose fiber made from the pulp of wood chips and is generally considered to be more eco-friendly and ethical in comparison to other wood-based fiber viscose and conventional cotton, due to its low ecotoxicity impacts, eutrophication, water use and land use. While a plant-based fiber it requires advanced processing, so it blurs the lines between man-made and natural. The making of lyocell starts from harvesting wood, mostly from eucalyptus trees due to their fast growth, but it can also derive from oak, birch, spruce, pine, and beech. The wood is broken down into chips and dissolved by an organic solvent called amine oxide to create a soggy pulp, the mixture is then processed through spinnerets to create fluffy white fibers.
With an exquisitely silky handfeel and lustrous sheen, lyocell is becoming a popular choice not only for garments but also other textiles including bed linens, towels, sportswear, and medical dressing. The fiber lends a softness, drapability, durability, and moisture absorbency, same when replicating delicate materials like silk.
Yet not all wood based fibers are created equal. There’s a complex supply chain and several environmental considerations to take into account, including deforestation and energy consumption.
In introducing wood based fibers to our permanent collection, we chose to work with lyocell and partnered with The Lenzing Group, an Austrian fiber producer. From harvesting wood to fiber production, Lenzing source raw materials only from FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified forests to prevent the use of wood pulp from endangered forests, recovers and recycles more than 99 percent of the organic solvent and lowers carbon emissions by scaling up their use of bioenergy and renewable electric power. This partnership has allowed us to build a transparent supply chain from fiber to finished garment while at the same time creating the highest quality product, with the lowest possible total footprint.