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What is it? …and why is it a sustainable fabric?

Yes I know! I wanted to write about this, about TENCEL for months. It is one of the reasons even why I started writing Blog-posts. To inform you about anything concerning my brand ZWAAN, but the topics I had in my mind then were mostly to start telling you about the materials I work with.

In THE MILLERS collection, my fall winter 2020/21 collection I had plenty Tencel fabrics and so I wanted to tell you more about these fabrics. But I never manged to do so. I want to give you the right information and need to research to do so which took me some time… BUT I MANAGED TO WRITE ABOUT Tencel NOW!!!! So the Blog many of you have been waiting for: here is all you need to know about Tencel and some extra links to check out!

The DANCE skirt is made out of Tencel/Lyocell fabric.

First things first, Tencel is a brand name, it is not the material. Tencel is the name for fibres like Lyocell or modal, produced by the Austrian company LENZING AG.

Now you might ask yourself what is Lyocell or modal? Lyocell is a form of rayon… And what might rayon be? Rayon (in a nutshell) is a fabric made from cellulose fibres which are made from wood pulp or other plant based materials from which one can extract cellulose. Because it requires certain chemicals to make fabric out of wood(pulp) rayon is considered a semi-synthetic fabric. You’ve probably all heard about Viscose right? Well Viscose is like Modal, Cupro, Lyocell and Tencel a form of rayon. Basically the building block all these ‘names’ are made of is cellulose.

So why choose Lyocell/Tencel instead of Viscose? Well the big and most important difference is the way the wood is solved. With Viscose this is done in a way which is really bad for the environment. Chemicals like sodium hydroxide, sulphuric acid and carbon disulphide are used, which also generate chemical reactions which are even worse for the environment and the people working with it. The Lyocell production however uses non-toxic ingredients, this is way better for our planet, but doesn’t necessarily have to be extremely good for it either. This depends whether or not the company making Lyocell uses a closed-loop production, what kind of trees do they use for their wood and many other factors.

The RE_MATCH dress from THE MILLERS collection was made out of 100% Tencel/Lyocell fabric.

And now Tencel. Tencel is a brands name for Lyocell. Why am I telling you this again? Well because it is very important. Buying something made out of Lyocell you still don’t know how it is made exactly. It can be a extremely sustainable product or a ‘shitty fake silk’ ( quoting the video linked below). You would only know how good or bad the fabric is when you would research the product you bought and where the fabric came from and especially which company made the fibres. But as a consumer (I myself included) one won’t ever go to such lengths. So choose Tencel. Because if you get a product made with Tencel fabrics, you do know how it’s made.

Tencel is a fibre based on cellulose like the other names I’ve dropped, but this cellulose comes from renewable wood sources, in Tencel case it comes from sustainable forests. Tencel is a semi-natural fibre but due to the closed loop process used for Tencel fabrics Because over 99% of the water and chemicals used to make the fibres is reused. Also Lenzing claims that Tencel fibres are compostable and biodegradable.

From wood to fabric in a nutshell:

The wood, mostly eucalyptus, is shopped into little pieces of wood, called wood chips. These are put into a solution/solvent which turns the wood chips into pulp. This is a slurry consistency. This pulp is pushed through little holes (looks like a garlic squeezer but then bigger...) to create long fibres. These fibres are woven into fabric. And these lovely fabrics are turned into products like the BALLET skirt below!

I myself am a huge fan of these Tencel fabrics. They feel so soft. Flow really pretty are durable and breathable. If you want to know more about Tencel and the process, I've added some links below. To the Tencel site itself, to a video about rayon, which I found extremely enlightening myself. And also added the site Meet Milk. Most of my Tencel fabrics come from this lovely company. The link I've added tells about their production, where and what standards they maintain.

Tap the images to go to their source.


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