In Our Resource Library: Lenzing’s TENCEL™ x REFIBRA

Our Sustainable Resource Library at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA) provides designers with a comprehensive place to better understand the impacts of the textiles and fibers they use. Visitors to the s.LAB can learn how over 30 different fibers are made, manufactured and used, and the environmental and social impact of each of those fibers. Additionally, we have an extensive collection of sustainable textile swatches and examples of innovation and technology within the apparel industry. We can help designers source the best materials for their work via our consulting services.

Each company represented in our library showcases new technologies in materials and represents the best in textiles representing sustainability and sustainable supply chains.

New fabrics developed with Lenzing’s TENCEL™ x REFIBRA lyocell fibers are in our BF+DA resource library and are one of the latest fiber innovations from Lenzing AG. The TENCEL™ x REFIBRA fiber is the first commercial scale cellulose fiber featuring recycled material. Made from a blend of pulps based on post-industrial cotton scraps and wood, this new generation of fibers represent the ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ process. The fibers have achieved the Recycled Claim Standard, which certifies that all production processes in its entire supply chain adhere to the proper steps that ensure the final product’s integrity.

We caught up with Tricia Carey, Director of Global Business Development for Denim at Lenzing to learn more about TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ Lyocell.

How important is a circular economy in 2018 and how is Refibra a good representation of how Lenzing is taking steps to become a pioneer?

Circular economy is important as we realize the impact of our waste.  More brands are developing goals around circularity, but this will take some time for change.

In 2017 Lenzing commercially launched TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ Lyocell takes post-industrial cotton waste from cutting rooms to make pulp.  We combine this cotton waste pulp with wood pulp to make a new fiber branded as TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ Lyocell.  We are taking this waste to make a new fiber that is soft and with high tensile strength.  REFIBRA™ is also fully traceable with a fiber identification added in the production process which can be detected in fiber, yarn, fabric or garments form – even with blended fiber contents.

We see REFIBRA technology as a first step in circularity with eventually building towards post consumer waste.

Talk about some of your designer collaborations (ex. DL1961 and also with Adriano Goldschmied). Are you seeing more brands looking for exciting new materials like Refibra and why?

Typically a new innovation comes with some snags, but in a short 18months we were able to bring programs to consumers with more than 8 global retail partners including Country Road,  DL1961,  Inditex ( Zara), Eileen Fisher, Mara Hoffman, Marc O’polo, Patagonia, Reformation.  That’s not only true innovation, that’s true commercial innovation!  Lenzing can successfully bring new innovations to retail with strong brand partnerships.

As we develop more supply chain partners, we also see more brands adopting REFIBRA™.

What’s driving all of the innovation? What I mean here is are we seeing more fashion brands demanding more sustainability or are tech-based businesses seeing the fashion industry’s waste as their new harvest? Maybe both?

The innovation is driven by brands and supply chain.  The apparel industry has been doing the same for years and even accelerated speed with fast fashion. Now we see new entrants into the apparel industry bringing technology and direct to consumer brands. More retailers/ brands are setting preferred fibers platform and making publicly stated goals. They know if they do not change they will not survive.

It is still being determined what to do with waste from the fashion industry. Post-consumer garments or post industrial waste needs to be sorted and shipped – its’ complex. There needs to be design with circularity in mind.

Anything new in the wings for Lenzing right now in terms of new materials being worked on?

Right now we continue to collaborate with supply chain partners and brands to bring sustainable innovation to commercial reality.