Circular knitted fabrics created with Lyocell merge two distinct concepts: Tencel and Lyocell itself. What this means is that this artificial fiber is produced through a technologically advanced process called Tencel.
The way it is produced became so successful that the name Tencel Lyocell transformed into a generic term to refer to this type of fiber.
However, the truth is that Lyocell debuted a long time ago. It was first introduced to the market around the 1980s. First, in the United States and, later, in Europe by the hand of Austrian giant Lenzing AG and by Courtaulds, a former English company.
Lenzing AG remains today one of the largest producers of Lyocell in the world, also known as LenzingTM Lyocell.
The fibers it develops are used to create circular knitted fabrics of very high quality and versatility. LenzingTM Lyocell’s has recently found a renewed interest, mainly due to its characteristics, linked to sustainability. No wonder then that the area of sustainable fashion seems so interested in this type of fiber.
We return to the advanced process developed by Lenzing AG. It uses a “closed-loop” system to create this artificial fiber. During production, there is no creation of any by-product capable of harming the environment. Chemicals involved throughout the entire process are non-toxic and can be reused over and over again, without ever being released to the environment.
LenzingTM Lyocell is an artificial fiber whose production process is very similar to that of Viscose or Modal. In other words, Lyocell is also a cellulosic fiber with an organic origin: wood pulp.
In this case, the wood used comes from the Eucalyptus tree or even Bamboo. Thus, the production of Lyocell begins with the transformation of the collected wood into a pulp of cellulose.
The mixture then goes through a drying process and is cut into tiny pieces, to which some chemical substances are added and that will later help Lyocell to gain its characteristics.
The next phase involves the use of spinnerets.
The chemical mixture is forced through them, and, on the other side, fibers come out ready to be knitted.
As we have seen, what makes Lyocell so environmentally friendly and a truly sustainable option is the fact that this entire process takes place in a closed circuit, in which no chemical substance escapes into the environment. But there are other reasons too.
Not only does this process take place within the closed-loop system, but it also requires less energy, as well as less water usage. And because this artificial fiber comes from organic materials, it is also biodegradable.
In short, the process is of high efficiency and low ecological impact. So much so that it won the European Award for the Environment, given by the European Commission for “Technology Applied to Sustainable Development”.
LenzingTM Lyocell characteristics first depend on the length chosen for the fiber during its production process. This decision directly affects the thickness and texture of the resulting fiber which can resemble cotton or even silk.
In simpler terms, this means Lyocell is a very versatile fiber that fits extremely well in the human body.
Not only that, but it is also very strong and resistant and, at the same time, surprisingly light and soft to the touch. However, its main feature can be found in its ability to breathe.
This is a fiber widely recognized for absorbing very, very little of the odors surrounding it. In turn, this means circular knitted fabrics created with Lyocell do not need to be washed as often. At the same time, this feature also allows it to regulate body temperature, meaning it can be used both in winter and in the summer.
Finally, all these are completed by its biodegradable properties, as well as its ability to be mixed with other types of fibers, such as cotton, wool, or silk.
LenzingTM Lyocell circular knitted fabrics are a truly sustainable option, with few to no disadvantages.
However, the advanced production process, alongside an increase in demand, makes it a fiber whose cost is higher than that of other fibers found in the market. Even so, due to its qualities as well as durability, it should rather be understood not as a cost, but as an investment. Particularly in the field of sustainable fashion.
At ITJV, it is only available through catalogue request and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021