01

What is viscose?

Our Tencel™ and Refibra™ fabrics are not only marvelous innovations in their look and feel, they are also convincing in the manufacturing process. It is very similar to that of viscose, because wood is the starting material here as well. Viscose is, roughly speaking, a synthetic fiber made of regenerated cellulose. In the classical viscose process, it is being produced in three steps.

• First, the so-called spinning solution is produced, for which the raw material – often beech, spruce or eucalyptus – is chemically processed so that the cellulose dissolves from it. The result is a cellulose pulp, which is first decomposed by a caustic soda solution and then mixed with carbon disulfide. The resulting mass is quite thick or, as the technical term is, viscous.

• After further venting and separating steps, a mass is created which can be spun. It is pressed through tiny spinnerets that have an impact on the shape and properties of the threads and create the yarn from which the textiles are later made.

02

How can viscose be sustainable?

The conventional viscose process unfortunately does not work without the use of chemicals that flow into the sewage system and is therefore not an option for us. The processes for making Tencel™ and Refibra™, on the other hand, show that there are other ways. The origin here too is the cellulose fiber. The so-called lyocell fiber technology, which was developed by the Austrian company Lenzing, however, ensures that the auxiliaries used during production – primarily water and chemicals – can be collected in a circulatory system and thus fed back into production.

• This is called a closed-loop procedure. The recovery and reusability of the chemicals are in the foreground and with great success: More than 99% of the solvents used can be recycled. Another plus: The end products made from the fibers are compostable and biodegradable in water.

• In addition to the raw material wood, the Refibra™ technology also uses cotton blends from the clothing industry and is even more consistent in terms of the circular economy. As you can see, the production of viscose and sustainability are in principle not mutually exclusive, but must be thought of together in an innovative way.

03

Our Tencel™ fabrics

Our Tencel™ fabrics have been with us since 2019 and are our answer to the huge demand for one of the most comfortable materials available today! The lyocell process used in the manufacture of Tencel™ is a very sustainable process that uses only two process steps and a non-toxic solvent, and 99% of the solvent and water used in the process can be supplied. Behind the great innovation of recent years is the Austrian company Lenzing. As a stock corporation with more than 6,000 employees, many locations around the world and the production of around 67,000 tonnes of cellulose fibers every year, Lenzing is more what one calls a big player. With Lenzing, we have a reliable partner at our side, which is well networked, operates absolutely professionally and develops innovative closed-loop strategies. The company virtually does not know anything like "waste products": Almost all solvents and emissions can be recovered or dismantled. Water consumption in lyocell production is about 80% lower than in conventional cotton processing. And the things being created are really fantastic. Breathable, with better moisture absorption, antibacterial and bleach-free. It looks beautiful, is extremely high quality, falls perfectly and can, in turn, be recycled again to think the loop through to the end.

Tencel Jersey
04

Our Refibra™ fabrics

FUTURE IN THE WOODS

Our new Refibra™ fabrics are first and foremost one thing: beautiful, very comfortable to wear and part of a new generation of fibers that take a huge step towards circular economies. Portfolio planning isn’t always an easy thing: On the one hand, we would like to include only such substances in the Lebenskleidung family, that are produced in a resource-saving way, get to us without long transport routes, and also do justice to the many innovations out there. So, it is really our duty to not only get to know each new fiber, but also to be clear about whether we can and want to work with it. On the other hand, this also means that we have to decide over and over again which pro- duction partners we want to cooperate with – a ridge that is sometimes narrower than you can imagine. Our new Refibra™ fabrics are first and foremost one thing: beautiful, very comfortable to wear and part of a new generation of fibers that take a huge step towards circular economies. Refibra™ is made from a mixture of wood shavings and – hence its name – cotton blends from the garment industry, which would otherwise be disposed of and are here given the chance to give their old lives to a new fiber.

To put it in a nutshell: Lyocell + Recycled Cotton Cut Residues = Refibra™. The environmental benefits of this manufacturing process are obvious. Not only is the lyocell process itself taken as a picture-book procedure, which takes place in only two process stages and with a non-toxic solvent and in which 99% of the solvent and the water used can be repeatedly fed into the production process. In addition, and this is the real innovation, materials from the waste stream – the cotton blends – are derived and harnessed elsewhere, reducing the amount of raw materials needed. Since all of this sounds like a very convincing thing, but at the same time quite technical, we would like to share with you what made the decision more difficult. The linchpin here is the Austrian company Lenzing, which stands behind the Refibra™ and which most of you have probably come across for their premium brand Tencel, the little sister of Refibra™.

As a stock corporation with more than 6,000 employees, many worldwide locations and the production of around 67,000 tonnes of cellulose fibers every year, Lenzing is more like what one would call a big player. That‘s not bad – quite the contrary in fact – but still brings us both advantages and disadvantages. The good things first: With Lenzing we have a reliable partner at our side who is well networked, absolutely professional and constantly working towards the developing of closed-loop strategies. The company virtually does not know anything like »waste products«: Almost all solvents and emissions can be recovered or dismantled.

Tencel Rohmaterial

Water consumption in lyocell production is around 80% lower than in conventional cotton processing. Certainly: In terms of energy, the balance sheet is a little worse, but Lenzing has committed to using 100% renewable energy in its production processes. And last but not least: The result, the material that comes from Refibra™, is seriously fantastic. Breathable, with better moisture absorption, antibacterial and bleach-free. It looks beautiful, falls perfectly, is of extremely high quality and can itself be recycled again, to think the loop through to the end. The downside: A company that operates on the mentioned scale cannot always trace everything down to the last detail. Specifically, this means we do not yet know as much as we would like about the conditions under which the types of wood used – eucalyptus, pine, spruce, acacia, birch, beech, aspen and maple – grow and thrive. What we do know though is that the wood is FSC- or PEFC-certified and gets produced in Heiligenkreuz in Austria. And also we would not have chosen to work with Refibra™ if after a lot of deliberation and a rather nice visit to Lenzing in Austria we weren’t fully convinced by the positive aspects convincing us that this project is worth it: for you, the beautiful fabric and the many right ideas and impulses. That’s why we‘re mostly excited to introduce you to the Refibra™ fiber in a weaving and knit quality this season and hope you can share that joy with us. You can still share appreciation, criticism and everything else that is on your mind – we would really like to hear your opinion on both our pick and, more importantly, the fabrics!

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