Two leaders in the denim supply chain take cues from fashion’s hype machines—ie, streetwear and sneakers—to launch garments made with limited-edition sustainable fibers.
Lenzing and Candiani Denim have developed Tencel Limited Edition with hemp and Coreva fabrics. The fabric is a blend combining the Italian mill’s biodegradable stretch denim technology with the Austrian fiber producer’s novel cellulosic fiber revamped to include a “substantial proportion of hemp pulp.”
Soft and natural, the fabric is featured in an exclusive range of 50 oversized women’s shirts available only at Candiani’s Coreva concept store in Milan. Comprised of 80 percent cotton, 18 percent Tencel Limited Edition with hemp and 2 percent Coreva natural rubber yarns, the “Made in Italy” shirt also features sustainable trims like organic cotton stitching yarn and raw steel buttons. The shirt is available in sizes XS-XL and retails for 185 euros ($199).
The fabric is also available at Candiani’s Milanese microfactory for consumers who want to personalize their jeans.
The garments are a unique opportunity for denim heads to own a first-of-its-kind sustainable fabric.
Tencel Limited Edition hemp was developed to further inspire sustainability across the textile industry value chain. Caroline Ledl, Lenzing Group head of product management textiles, said the company began to work on projects in 2021 that “explore the use of alternative raw materials, such as hemp or orange pulp, in textile production.”
Though it’s recognized as a highly sustainable fiber and alternative to virgin cotton, hemp’s roughness has proved challenging for the apparel category. Mills have developed ways to cottonize hemp to achieve a softer hand feel, while others are embracing the fiber’s irregularity for heritage looks.
In this case, hemp serves as a “tree-free complement” to the wood pulp traditionally used for Tencel lyocell. By applying Lenzing’s environmentally responsible closed-loop manufacturing process, hemp in addition to wood pulp is transformed into a soft fiber.
“As consumers increasingly regard sustainability as [an] important purchase consideration, the textile industry needs to act swiftly to offer solutions,” Ledl said. “We wanted to push the traditional boundaries of fiber production by leveraging natural resources.”
Lenzing and Candiani Denim share a common goal to create widespread awareness about the “end of life” of the garments that, if not biodegradable, can pollute the environment. Candiani Denim debuted its patented Coreva technology, a biodegradable stretch denim fabric, in 2020. The technology replaces conventional synthetic and petrol-based elastomers with plant-based yarn obtained from natural rubber.
In a world where resources are “dwindling and there is an unmanageable excess of clothing to be disposed of,” according to Alberto Candiani, president of Candiani Denim, it is everyone’s responsibility to pay attention to renewable resources and biodegradable and compostable materials.
“The world of denim must be at the forefront of this revolution, and we are excited to be able to collaborate with international companies such as Lenzing and to be able to share our innovation and our values with the rest of the fashion industry,” he said.