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What is Tencel™ and how sustainable it is?

Tencel™ has been rapidly blooming in the sustainable fashion market for the past few decades. If you are a conscious buyer, chances are you must have come across this name. From baby clothing to bed linens, Tencel™ has made its remarkable position in every segment. The popularity of fibre prevails in the market because of its versatile character and it could become an alternative to almost every fabric. But how? Let’s find out the details.

What is Tencel™?

Tencel™ is a trademarked name of a plant-based lyocell and modal fabric developed by an Austrian company Lenzing AG. Although many other companies are developing variations of the generic lyocell fabric, Tencel™ is only particular to Lenzing. This trademarked fabric is considered akin to viscose and rayon fabric. However, the development process of Tencel™ is generous and responsible to the environment.

How is Tencel™ made?

The Lenzing trademarked lyocell fabric is an eco-friendly material generated from sustainably grown Eucalyptus trees. The tree is known for its fast growth, water efficiency, and ability to grow in dry lands and yet not degrade the soil.

The fabric is made by debarking and breaking the wood into pulp with the help of an organic solvent. The pulp mixture is passed through spinnerets, a machine with small holes to create filament fibres. These fibres are then spun into yarns and eventually fabric. Unlike other production processes, Tencel production doesn’t require toxic chemicals and is biodegradable. Lenzing follows a closed-loop production system that recycles and reuses the chemicals so that it doesn’t harm the environment and people.

How is Tencel™ different from Viscose and Rayon?

While the Tencel™ fabric is considered similar to the characteristics of Viscose and rayon fabric, it is the production and treatment process that makes a difference between the two fabrics. The conventional viscose and rayon fabric wood is sourced from endangered forests and encourages deforestation. The development process of these fabrics is also chemically- intensive that massively impacts the ecosystem. Tencel™, on the other hand, sources sustainably managed wood for its development and uses non-toxic and reusable chemicals that hinder the planet from getting exploited.

Is Tencel™ natural?

This is a tricky question! Since the fibre is procured from a natural resource but is technically man-made by processing the wood pulp into yarns, it can not be considered entirely natural. Rather, it comes under the category of regenerated cellulose.

Is Tencel™ sustainable?

Best described as biodegradable and compostable, Lenzing’s Tencel is a  responsibly developed sustainable material. But, if brands that are working with this material apply harmful chemicals and dyes to further make a final product, it can not be biodegraded naturally. The material is truly strong and is made to sustain for long periods.

Is Tencel™ good for clothing?

Tencel ticks the majority of the checkpoints that we look into a responsibly made garment. The impact that the fabric makes on the environment is minimal. It is more durable than cotton fabric and doesn’t lose its shape. The fabric is gentle on the skin and breathable. The drape ability, softness, wrinkle and odour resistance are other key points of it being an ideal clothing fabric.

Is Tencel™ better than cotton?

If we compare conventional cotton to organic one based on sustainability aspects, organic is far better than the other. But if compared to Tencel, Tencel is more durable than cotton. And if wash, care and storage instructions are properly followed, Tencel can run longer. Tencel doesn’t tend to thin, while cotton is prone to that over time. The moisture absorption ability, breathability and softness are also greater in Tencel fabric.

How to take care of Tencel™ clothing?

It is ideal to take care of the clothes as it is mentioned in the care instruction label. However, in general, Tencel fabric is shrink resistant. Thus, it will not shrink as other fabrics do. It is advised to hand wash the fabric in mild detergent or wash in a gentle machine cycle and line dry in shade to sustain it for a longer period.

Which are the top Tencel™ clothing brands?

A great number of big and small fashion companies are working with the Tencel material. They all are catering to different segments of the clothing category. While there are many, our top list of Tencel clothing brands includes Encircles, Tamga Designs, Organic Basics, Tailor & Circus, Thought, People Tree etc.

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