Why We Love TENCEL Lyocell

Jul 6, 2020
Janelle Wavell-Jimenez

C hoosing the right fabric isn’t easy. What’s the point in a fabric being comfortable or looking great if it means tossing ethics and sustainability out the window? What’s the point in it being ethical and sustainable if no one wants to wear it? This is why we put a lot of time and energy (like, a lot) into finding a fabric that checks all the boxes—and then some—and we finally found it. We’re in love with Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Lyocell, and we think you’ll love it, too.

What is TENCEL™ Lyocell?

TENCEL™ is a lyocell made specifically by Lenzing, a company based in Austria. What's lyocell? Lyocell is fibers derived from wood pulp, a sustainable and renewable resource. We know what you’re thinking: “Wait, wood pulp? How do you make clothes out of wood pulp??” And the answer is, “very well, thank you.” Sorry, dad joke moment.

OK, the actual answer is a bit more complex so here’s the short version: they take the wood pulp and dissolve it down into a sticky liquid called cellulose. Then they put the cellulose through spinnerets, which turn it into long fibers. We’re skipping over all the rounds of washing and filtering, here, but trust us, there’s plenty of both.

The fibers are soft, silky-smooth, absorbent, durable, biodegradable, and can be used to make anything from T-shirts to tote bags. It’s also hypoallergenic. That’s right: soft, hypoallergenic, scientifically designed using natural materials—it’s like the labradoodle of fabric.

Looking up at the branches of a tall redwood tree

"Soft, hypoallergenic, scientifically designed using natural materials—it’s like the labradoodle of fabric. "

What makes TENCEL™ Lyocell special?

Not all lyocell fibers are created equal. TENCEL™ takes every benefit of lyocell and turns it up to 11. That’s why Lenzing has trademarked it. TENCEL™ Lyocell is not only softer than cotton, it’s more absorbent, too, so it keeps you cool and dry. It feels incredible against your skin, and drapes like a dream. It inhibits bacterial growth, which keeps it smelling fresh, even after you’ve been doing your best to stink it up all day. And when you finally do stick it in the laundry (oh yeah, did we mention it’s washer and dryer-safe?), it retains its color better than traditional fabrics.      

Even the way Lenzing gets their materials for TENCEL™ is next-level. All lyocell comes from wood pulp, but the pulp in TENCEL™ exclusively comes from European forests which are certified sustainably managed themselves. And then they process it using renewable energy and recycled water and recapture over 99% of their solvent so they can use it again.

Their process has won awards for sustainability in Europe (which has a higher bar for certifications in general than the United States). From the raw materials to the finished product, every step in the production of TENCEL™ is thoughtful and innovative. And the result is a truly exceptional, sustainable fabric that we are SUPER excited about and hope you're excited about too!

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Janelle Wavell-Jimenez

Janelle makes digital clothing in video games, and real clothing in real life. She founded Stellari in 2020.

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