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Cupro is an artificial fiber used to create circular knitted fabrics. It is produced from unprocessed and otherwise normally wasted cotton.
Sometimes it can even be considered a recycled cotton fiber. However, given the chemical process it goes through, it should not be considered a natural fiber.
Although Cupro and cotton find their origin in the same plant and even though both share some characteristics, the truth is that circular knitted fabrics made from Cupro turn out to be quite different from those knitted in cotton.
One of the shared characteristics is its absorption power and thermal regulation. However, the biggest difference is actually their touch. Unlike the softer contact of cotton, Cupro circular knitted fabrics have a silkier feel, much like Silk itself.
The use of raw material that would otherwise be wasted makes Cupro a real alternative to cotton, whose production is quite intensive in terms of resources, particularly water. Nevertheless, the chemicals applied during its treatment, together with the high levels of energy required for the production of Cupro have led some producers to question the future of this artificial fiber.
Cupro's process does begin with cellulose obtained from small cotton linters collected in the fields where it is planted.
This cellulose is first treated in a solution of ammonia and copper. Then it is dipped in caustic soda and subsequently filtered to remove potentially harmful chemicals to the skin.
The solution obtained is then forced to pass through spinnerets, in order to gain the form of fiber. Again, it is exposed to chemical baths. These substances can be used over and over, but not forever. Sooner or later, they are replaced and how they are stored and further processed can be potentially dangerous, even leading some countries to ban their production.
Cupro is exclusively produced in China. The cotton threads needed for its creation can be purchased at a relatively low cost and this is also felt by the consumer, especially at a time when they are increasingly moving away from artificial fibers.
At ITJV, Cupro is only available through catalogue request and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021