Acting on every level – from fiber origins to final production – the upstream sector is hard at work scrutinizing, measuring and transforming the design of its products. Traceability is being strengthened across the supply chain, from premium European linen to regenerative cotton with pigment tracers, to FSC-cellulosics guaranteed not to come from deforestation. The latest transformation processes are ingenious, with a wide range of options, including organic, recycled, biosourced and alternative plant fibers, and dyes and finishings that use less water, energy and chemicals. From fluid looks to outdoor wear, from lingerie to sportswear, a new eco-responsible horizon is broadening the field of possibilities.
SUBTLE DOSES OF CHEMISTRY Natural or synthetic chemicals, which are necessary to transform products, are being closely examined to minimize their impact. Cellulose dissolution processes are rethought with non-toxic solvents, substances reused in a closed loop, for safe artificial fibers, as demonstrated by Refibra™, Naia™ or Ecovero™.
Colors and finishings take a common sense approach, by reducing processing steps. Recycling enters the dyeing universe, with textile residues regenerated into pigment dyes, or conserving the color of recycled fibers, without over-dyeing, along with recycled waxes for naturally water-repellant fabrics.
Innovation is upgrading new generations of dyes, with microorganisms that are true dyeing-nanofactories, catalyzing colors by fermenting vegetable waste. Under the auspices of initiatives such as ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) or Oeko-tex EcoPassport, substances, such as PFC-free finishings, are increasingly reassuring.
REFIBRA™ is a new generation of ecological fabrics made of upcycled cotton scraps from pre & post consumer cotton waste and Lenzing™ Lyocell fibers coming from wood pulp. Refibra™ fabrics are naturally soft and gente on the skin, breathable, and compostable.
NAIA: With full traceability from tree to fiber, Eastman Naia™ cellulosic fiber is made in the U.S.A. with the highest safety, social, and environmental standards. The company’s closed-loop production process allows recycling and reuse of safe solvents and water, resulting in fibers with a low environmental impact. The Naia™ portfolio of cellulosic acetate fibers includes cellulosic staple fiber and cellulosic filament yarn, giving designers more choices and versatility to create.
ECO VERO: EcoVero™ is a more sustainable viscose made using sustainable wood from controlled sourcesMade from purified cellulose, EcoVero™ fiber is produced from specially processed wood pulp and is often compared to silk and cotton.
Previous seasons saw a proliferation of recycled polyesters. This winter marks the diversification of eco-responsible fibers, worked in carefully elaborated blends. Artificial Ecovero™ ou Naia™ are combined with organic cotton, creating a fluidity right for every day, and aiming for 100% cellulosic compositions ideal for easy recycling. European linens and certified wools provide a fluffy new softness with low environmental impact. Hemp continues to make inroads, with honed technologies that increase the percentage of bast fiber while boasting more delicate handles. Nettle and abaca (banana fiber) are also on the rise in compositions, blended with hemp or cotton. Synthetics are gradually shifting towards product qualities optimized for biodegradability, with additives that allow them to disintegrate as quickly as natural fibers.
Traceability techniques can now authenticate fibers by tracing them back to their geographical origin, cultivation methods and social conditions. Wools are identified right back to the farms, to attest to animal welfare. Respect for the 5 animal freedoms and processing of the fibers using non-toxic substances ensure the eco-responsible criteria of this winter fiber par excellence.
Cottons are turning to regenerative crops, capable of restoring soil, supporting biodiversity and storing CO2 , while ensuring decent incomes for farmers. Long fiber cottons are also being cultivated with a view to producing quality products that guarantee long-life and durability. Linen provides insulating qualities thanks to its thermoregulatory nature, along with requiring very little water and phytosanitary inputs.
ABACA fibre is considered as the strongest among natural fibres . It is classified as a hard fibre , along with coir , henequen and sisal . The length of the fibre varies from 3 -9 feet or more depending on the height of the plant and the age of the leafsheath . The colour of the fibre ranges from ivory white to light and dark brown . Abaca rope is very durable , flexible and resistant to salt water damage .
NETTLE is the most breathable natural fibre, its core fibre structure is unlike other natural fibres. Nettle fibre is able to absorb and release moisture better than other natural fibres. The fibre has been called Nordic silk because the fibre shines dimly.