Creatures of comfort are having a moment in fashion—and after a year of contemplative change, the market is poised to deliver sustainably made solutions that meet the ever-increasing demand for cozy, cocooning comfortability.
To help the industry meet these growing demands, global advanced materials company Eastman recently debuted Naia™ Renew, its traceable cellulosic staple fiber ideal for loungewear and everyday casual wear. Eastman said it identified a “major gap in the market” for sustainably made, ultra-comfortable apparel that delivers the same properties valued in versatile, high-quality materials.
Naia™ Renew is sourced from 60 percent wood pulp and 40 percent recycled waste plastics. The firm said that its cellulosic fiber is traceable with certified biodegradability “that captures the value of hard-to-recycle materials that would otherwise be destined for landfills. It can be produced at scale to deliver sustainability without compromise to the fashion world,” Eastman explained.
The firm’s new fiber stays true to its assurance of traceable sustainability, high quality, and long-awaited comfortability that consumers are searching and yearning for.
Slip into something more comfortable
It comes as no surprise that shoppers are seeking comfort in 2021, and the shift toward loungewear and casualwear is more far more than “just a pandemic trend,” according to the experts. In a recent report by the NPD Group, researchers said, “The circumstances surrounding 2020 accelerated the comfort movement that was already underway within the U.S. fashion apparel and footwear markets.”
And while total apparel sales declined by 19 percent in 2020, “comfy cozy” categories such as sweatpants and sleepwear have grown by 17 percent and 6 percent, respectively, all according to the NPD Group.
Seventy percent of consumers reported that once they can return to work and other activities, they plan to dress more casually than they did prior to the pandemic, the NPD Group added—and that also means the emergence of hybrid categories such as “coatigans” will continue to surface.
Ahead of the curve, Eastman first released its Naia™ cellulosic yarn in 2018 with a vision to create a sustainable fiber that “inspires trust and confidence” with measurable impact.
“Naia™ cellulosic yarn was launched in the womenswear fashion market a few years ago with a strong focus on sustainability from its origin to end of life,” said Ruth Farrell, global marketing director for textiles at Eastman. “It is responsibly sourced from sustainably managed pine and eucalyptus forests to ensure no deforestation of protected forests.”
Naia™ Renew is available as both a filament yarn and a staple fiber. Naia™ Renew Staple is inherently soft like its predecessor, as it similarly promises comfortability, reduced pilling, is skin friendly, and even offers superior quick drying, as Naia™ staple fiber blends with lyocell and modal improve dry rates up to 30 percent. Moreover, it is also biodegradable and compostable.
“More and more consumers are aware of the fashion industry’s impact on our planet and society,” said Farrell. “More consumers than ever are seeking transparency with clothing brands’ sustainability efforts and are looking for information about how their clothing is made so that they can feel empowered and comfortable in their purchasing decisions. The use of more sustainable fiber options is crucial in making more conscious decisions.”
“However, sustainably minded Americans say that they have a difficult time finding apparel that contains sustainable materials—not to mention environment-friendly clothing—that also meet or exceed their primary expectations,” Farrell added.
Farrell noted that according to Eastman’s research, material makeup is a major consideration for shoppers seeking sustainable solutions—but what consumers really want is a single fabric that delivers on all fronts.
“Delving deeper into what eco-conscious consumers are looking for when comes to apparel, Eastman’s U.S. Sustainable Leader Consumer Community found that 7 in 10 of these consumers say materials define the sustainability of an item. But shoppers today are not only seeking out sustainable fibers; they’re also looking for fabrics that deliver on comfort, style, quality and durability.”
Season of sustainability
Womenswear brands seeking circular solutions that address the “fashion industry’s biggest problems” can rely on Naia™ Renew as a comprehensive sustainable fiber choice for fabrics because its greatest quality is circularity—through the fiber’s production, waste is diverted from landfills, the firm’s carbon footprint is reduced, and natural resources are preserved, “allowing you to create sustainable fashion garments with zero trade-offs on quality,” Farrell said.
Like its original Naia™ cellulosic fiber, Naia™ Renew is sourced from sustainably managed pine and eucalyptus forests and plantations, is sustainable in its origin, and practices safe and environmentally sound chemical use. Prized for its versatility, the Naia™ Renew fiber is easily blended with other fibers such as polyester, cotton, viscose and others, and offers supreme softness, improved dry rates, and reduced pilling.
“Naia™ is produced in a safe, closed-loop process with a low-impact manufacturing process and low tree-to-fiber carbon and water footprint,” Farrell said. “With our goals for Naia™, we want to actively play our part to help fix the future and work together to protect our planet’s precious resources for the next generations.”
Through all this, the fiber creates value from hard-to-recycle materials such as recycled plastic waste, that would ordinarily “be destined for landfills.”
Farrell added, “The manufacture of Naia™ Renew also enables a measurably reduced carbon footprint over the fiber’s life cycle, and since it is certified biodegradable and compostable, it creates the possibility for fabrics to safely return to nature at the end of their usefulness.”
“Part of the beauty of Naia™ Renew is that it is a traceable product you can trust,” Farrell continued. “This circular portfolio delivers on Eastman’s commitment to preserving resources for future generations, helping create a world where brands—and consumers—can be in fashion without compromise.”
*Naia™ Renew recycled content is achieved by allocation of recycled plastics using an ISCC-certified mass balance process.