How Tencel is More Than Just a Sustainable Fiber


Sustainability is in our DNA - it’s not just an afterthought. As I build this brand, I want to ensure that I’m doing it in an environmentally and socially responsible way from the start. Sourcing eco-friendly fabrics plays a huge part in this. After months of researching and sourcing, I’m happy to say that I’ve landed on an eco-conscious fiber that will most likely be used in 2 of the styles in my premier collection. The winner? Drumroll, please…. Tencel! Below is a breakdown of what Tencel is, how it’s made, and its benefits to both you and the environment.

So, what is Tencel?

Tencel is the brand name of a type of lyocell (and sometimes modal), created by an Austrian fiber company called Lenzing. It’s a naturally derived cellulosic fiber that’s also compostable and biodegradable. In fact, a recent study by the research lab, Organic Waste Systems (OWS), confirmed that all Lenzing-branded viscose, modal, and lyocell fibers are biodegradable in water, soil, and compost.1 

Where does it come from and how is it made?
I’m glad you asked. Tencel is derived from FSC-certified and sustainably farmed trees (most commonly, eucalyptus), which makes this a highly traceable fiber.2 What’s more, eucalyptus doesn’t require pesticides or insecticides to thrive.

Tencel is made by first dissolving and spinning wood pulp with non-toxic solvents to create a wet mixture, which is then pushed through small holes to create fibers. These fibers are then chemically treated before being spun into threads and formed into fabrics. In an effort to reduce waste, 99.5% of the non-toxic solvents used are recovered in a closed-loop production process and used to form new fibers.3 Tencel does still use up energy during the production process, though much less than to produce other fibers such as conventional cotton.

What are the key benefits?
Other than being a low-impact fiber given the way it’s made, Tencel has many benefits to you, which I’ve listed below:2

  • It’s buttery soft and gentle on the skin.
  • It drapes beautifully, so you’ll look good in it, too. 
  • It’s wrinkle resistant (which means less ironing and more wearing).
  • It’s highly breathable.
  • It has antibacterial properties.
  • It’s moisture-wicking.
  • It’s incredibly strong (which is important given that we want to create durable garments that last).

Tencel is more than just a sustainable fiber - it has so many functional properties that are both beneficial to us and the earth. Needless to say, it gives me all the feels. I can’t wait to bring my styles to life with this amazing fiber and for you to experience them!

Diana | Founder of Unspun Narrative

SOURCES
1 “LENZING™ Fibers Are Fully Biodegradable in Water, Soil and Compost.” LENZING™, Filip Miermans, 30 Aug. 2019, https://www.lenzing.com/newsroom/press-releases/press-release/article/news/detail/lenzingtm-fibers-are-fully-biodegradable-in-water/ 
2 “Sustainability.” LENZING™, https://www.tencel.com/sustainability 
3 “Responsible Fibers.” Eileen Fisher, https://www.eileenfisher.com/choosing-tencel-over-viscose/