TENCEL™ is Lenzing’s flagship brand for textiles. Used for a variety of highly specialized applications, the benefits of TENCEL™ fibers can be discerned instantly: Soft to the skin, smooth to the touch, luxurious in shine and flow— they caress the senses. And convince minds with their exceptional capacity for thermal regulation and moisture absorption.
The TENCEL™ product range offers special solutions for even highly sophisticated applications. Carefully considering individual requirements right from the beginning, our fiber production can be customized for each application’s specifications.
Lenzing continues to demonstrate how we can reduce our ecological footprint.
Questions answered by Florian Heubrandner
1. What is Lenzing’s selection criteria for collaboration with textile value chain partners (i.e. yarn, fabric manufacturers)? How does Lenzing choose their industry partners?
- At Lenzing, we pursue a common goal with our textile partners: to offer products that have great performance and certified sustainability. Products that we make with our partners are soft, gentle on the skin, and provide an added layer of comfort in knowing that what our customers are wearing are sustainably sourced and made.
- Lenzing’s sustainable fiber innovations are not enough. We can only create lasting sustainable change if every level of the textile supply chain is equally committed and working collaboratively towards a common goal.
- Lenzing leads from the front and has taken the initiative to work hand-in-hand with different industry stakeholders to develop smart and impactful solutions. We actively welcome collaboration with likeminded stakeholders who share the same aspirations as us and are willing to create change to make the world a better place.
- Key requirements of sustainability should include preserving natural resources, protecting the climate, offering fair working conditions, and promoting the circular economy.
- High levels of transparency and close collaboration facilitate stronger trust with our partners, and so we regularly exchange ideas to unite different perspectives, understand global industry and consumer trends, and find ways to better reduce different operational risks.
2. What are some of the latest new textile product development strategies? How frequently does Lenzing launch its product development innovations?
- Below are some principles when devising our development strategies in the textile industry:
- Partner with industry stakeholders for sustainable change
- Find ways to ‘green up’ the value chain
- Implement circular economy for the broader ecosystem
- Develop innovations that act as solutions to evolving customer needs
- Launch new offerings to improve the environmental impact throughout the value chain
- Combining Lenzing’s ambition to improve people’s lives and pioneering spirit, we are not only generating new fiber ideas but also improving our existing products through collaborations with partners along the value chain.
- Research and Development plays a large role in our innovation process. Anchored in scientific fundamentals for new fiber developments, we develop the textile applications in our inhouse facilities whilst consulting with our value chain partners.
- Lenzing currently holds 1,274 patent applications and patents for a total of 215 patent groups in 49 countries across all segments.
- With the ever-evolving textile industry, we will not be limited by boundaries and will continue to produce comfortable and high-quality preferred fibers that set even higher sustainability benchmarks for the industry. Along with our key partners, we can further tailor our textile offerings to achieve greater sustainability heights. This will help us safeguard resources for future generations.
3. Can you tell us something about Lenzing’s botanic fibers?
- The textile industry, especially in fashion, is facing significant challenges, and consumer behavior is consistently shifting. Across the board, consumers are becoming far more conscious about sustainability.
- For the TENCEL™ brand, we are proud to be recognized by industry leaders for our innovations in cellulosic fiber technology, eco-responsible production processes, and our commitment to circular economy.
- At Lenzing, our TENCEL™ lyocell and modal branded fibers are from botanic origin and are produced using wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed forests, hence they are certified botanic, compostable and biodegradable. Our TENCEL™ branded fibers offer a range of other features, such as gentleness on skin, long-lasting softness, increased breathability and color retention.
- The TENCEL™ brand is unique in its ability to provide consumers with the confidence that their clothing choices contain fibers conforming to the highest of environmental standards and deliver on the expectations of quality, comfort and aesthetics concurrently.
4. What’s your take on retailers becoming increasingly environmentally friendly, and how has Lenzing been helping retailers to boost their sustainability credentials?
- More and more retailers are realizing the need for greater transparency and sustainability, with the general trajectory heading toward a textile industry ecosystem that values higher quality products. Adding to the rise of conscious consumers driving up the demand for eco-friendly products, retailers have to strongly re-evaluate their existing practices and actively pursuit a more sustainable business model.
- A key part to Lenzing’s success over the past 80 years is maintaining our long-term relationships with industry partners and customers. Beyond producing and innovating high quality sustainable fibers and technologies, Lenzing also has a goal of helping brands transition into a more competitive and sustainable model. For brands taking the first step towards becoming more environmentally responsible, we step in as an industry consultant. Through educational sessions, we hope to deliver added value by connecting retailers with fabric mills, spinners or other partners truly providing sustainable solutions.
- It is important for brands to communicate exactly where their products came from. However, not all have the capability to do so. Seeing the growing demand for goods that are ethically produced and transparent, Lenzing introduced an e-branding online service platform for industry partners to easily showcase their use of Lenzing fibers through certification and licensing application. This further boosts their sustainability credentials to consumers.
- Recently, we’ve also collaborated with a blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability platform for our textile customers, maximizing transparency and providing a secure digital chain of custody across the entire ecosystem, from fiber to garment production. Through this pioneering platform, retailers can easily achieve supply chain transparency.
5. What’s Lenzing fiber business’ market share in India and also across the world?
- Throughout the years, we have seen an increasing number of Indian fashion brands eager to know more about TENCEL™ or launching collections using TENCEL™ branded fibers. We have also seen an increasing awareness on sustainability amongst the Indian community, as a result we want to be a part of and facilitate conversations surrounding sustainability. We believe that our experience in pioneering sustainability provides us with the opportunity to partner with local brands and enhance the visibility on sustainable fibers. In India we have seen the consumption pattern of our fibers has been steadily increasing in the last few years.
- The textile segment has always been the core part of Lenzing’s business. Throughout the years, as consumers’ awareness on sustainability increased, many brands were forced to rethink their business strategies and launch more collections and pieces made with eco-friendly fibers, therefore we have been witnessing a positive growth in our global textile business. In parallel, as an industry pioneer on sustainability, we have also been investing heavily in our R&D programs and are dedicated to finding ways to drive further industry innovations and supporting the ecosystem to become more sustainable.
- New launches and development plans for 2021 and beyond are in the works. We will continue to work closely with brands, retailers, and value chain partners from all regions on the development of innovative and sustainable offerings, which can further improve the environmental credentials and exposure of TENCEL™ branded fibers.
Questions answered by Tricia Carey
6. Can you share with us some more information on how the TENCEL™ Modal fiber with Indigo Color technology works? What is the production process like?
- The Indigo Color technology is a one-step spun dyeing process that incorporates indigo pigment into TENCEL™ Modal fibers and has a smaller carbon footprint. Based on our testing when comparing this innovation to conventional powder indigo dyeing and pre-reduced liquid indigo dyeing, the resource savings are significant:
- Water savings: 99%
- Chemical savings: 80%
- Electricity savings: 99%
- Wastewater savings: 99%
- Heat energy savings: 100%
- In general, the higher the percentage of TENCEL™ Modal fibers with Indigo Color technology used in the fabric, the greater the potential savings over traditional range rope dyed indigo yarns. This is an innovative indigo application process.
- Produced in Austria, predominantly from beech wood derived from sustainably managed wood sources, this new offering has been designated BioPreferred®by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Standard 100 Oekotex class 1 certification.
- We are very fortunate to have a strong foundation in the environmentally responsible fibers we produce. Throughout our tenure we have consistently strengthened our leading environmental credibility for years after the original launch working with suppliers and brands to develop products.
- This is because, with every innovation, we never work in a silo and never think only about short-term gains. We actively collaborate with all partners and make a point of understanding their challenges now, the fashion industry and where we all must go.
- Further, our strong focus on R&D allows us to drive the forefront of what sustainable textiles means, with a foot firmly planted in both the present and the future for maximum product longevity. After all, to know where you need to go, you must always understand where you’ve come from.
- In short, our forward-thinking approach to innovation allows us to bring to market future-proof fibers with a lower environmental footprint for the industry.
7. What are the benefits of having a specially commissioned indigo pigment from dyestuff manufacturer DyStar®?
- Lenzing commissioned DyStar® to create an indigo pigment to meet the strict requirements of Oeko-tex Class 1 standard, including ultra-low levels of aniline, to use in the dope dyeing process.
- Aniline is a precursor for synthetic indigo, and aniline impurities remain on fabric after it has been dyed. Oeko-Tex and Bluesign have placed limits on aniline in their standards, and a number of brands include aniline on their restricted substance lists.
8. How does TENCEL™ Modal fiber with Indigo Color technology expand denim fabrics and garments’ performances and aesthetics while being eco-friendly?
- For us, it is not thinking about of the way something has always been made, but rather coming up with new products, constructions, and applications. The use of the TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology fiber provides a solution for the challenges of using traditional indigo yarns which have high crocking issues. We see endless possibilities to use TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology alone or in combination with other low-impact developments for applications like knitwear, flat knits, shoes, bags, home furnishings and more.
- The use of our new fibers has no design limitations and add the additional comfort of sustainable consumption for our designers and consumers. Denim is tackling all the major apparel industry challenges to reduce the environmental impact. Addressing the need for comfort apparel with joggers, looser fits, and even knits.
9. Tell us about your collaboration with the “Godfather of Denim” Adriano Goldschmied, founder of House of Gold, for a capsule collection using the new offering and also partnerships with denim mills Candiani and Cone Denim to commercialize the launch.
- Since I started working for the TENCEL™ brand in 1998, Adriano has always been interested in our TENCEL™ branded fibers. For the past 10 years, Adriano has been one of the leading advocates for the denim industry to lower their environmental impact. So, it was a natural process that we work together on this new denim innovation.
- While working with Adriano, he was unafraid to challenge the status quo and seek new ideas. It was a great privilege to work with such a legendary designer, his longstanding push for sustainability coupled with his industry experience made the collaboration a truly productive and insightful experience.
- We are also working with leading denim mills, Candiani from Italy and Cone Denim from USA. Both of these mills interpreted the use of TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology in their own way. Candiani developed a weft-blend, while Cone Denim blended with hemp fibers.
10. Can you share with us some examples of how you helped your denim co-brand partners to tackle their problems and what solutions Lenzing provided?
- Beyond technological solutions, Lenzing also provides a wide variety of advisory and insights from our executives and thought leaders. Some of these include:
- Brands should always think of ways to address circularity in their production process, starting with vintage or upcycle concepts. Even textile recycling can happen with fibers like TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ technology where cotton waste is upcycled to make a new fiber.
- Sustainability is a primary focus for denim and will continue to be in the long-term, as manufacturing of sustainable denim continues to increase, so too are consumers indicating a preference for brands that implement eco-sustainability in their denim production. These consumers are interested, active and engaged in the conversations that we are having on becoming more eco-friendly as a planet and as such brands need to participate and provide avenues for that conversation
- Supply chain transparency is also developing rapidly, consumers are deeply interested in knowing exactly how their denim is made and where it came from. For brands to succeed in this respect they need to develop comprehensive resources that highlight each step of the process from fiber to shelf.
- Authenticity is another important factor for brands – instead of making false sustainability claims and greenwashing campaigns, brands should highlight real initiatives and actions they are taking to gain and/or maintain the trust of their consumers.
- Collaboration is the only way to drive further change in the industry. From inception of idea to co-branding at the consumer level, we are involved in every step of the way. From our Kings of Indigo collection pop-up shop with TENCEL™ Denim, to the Guess collection launch of TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ technology, we support the storytelling of our brand partners. Our brand new TENCEL™ online e-Shop also includes global denim brand – Levis.