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Intimates Gets a Boost from New Sustainable Fibers and Fabrics

As brands and consumers become more demanding about the clothes they make and wear meeting sustainable and environmental standards, fabric and fiber suppliers are stepping up to the task.

Whether using recycled materials or a manufacturing process that conserves water and energy, material suppliers are moving sustainability into the intimates space.

Roica, a specialist in innovative stretch fibers, encourages weavers, designers and brands to “engineer” its portfolio of products in ways that combine creativity and responsibility for a contemporary consumer.

“Each brand partner brings a different yarn story firmly into the limelight and all feature ingredients from the Roica portfolio of yarns respecting the company’s commitment to responsible innovation and which all boast important sustainable certifications,” the company said.

Roica collaborated with Cosabella, produced by Collezioni, for styles that use a delicate floral lace by Tessitura Colombo Antonio made with Roica V550, part of its Eco-Smart family of fabrics. The range is constructed of responsibly made premium stretch fibers that are Global Recycled Standard certified by Textile Exchange from more than 50 percent pre-consumer recycled content. They are also Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold Level for Material Health product and ingredients.

The Japanese fiber firm also worked with Iluna Group’s contemporary graphic stretch lace with Roica EF recycled spandex for its Bellagio intimates line.

Warp + Weft launched sustainable underwear this month following the brand’s material choice strategy in denim.

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After testing jeans on all body types, founder Sarah Ahmed saw that people were having issues with how their underwear was fitting them and that women wanted a fabric that was ultra-soft, absorbent and something they could wear all day.

All the feedback was taken into consideration in order to “create underwear that would serve our customers in the same way our jeans do–in that the fit is amazing, the fabric is luxurious, uses similar sustainable technology to our denim, and is inclusive,” Ahmed said.

The new underwear line is created with 95 percent Tencel Modal, which is made by spinning cellulose that has been reconstituted from beech trees, and 5 percent spandex. Ahmed said this allows the underwear to be naturally breathable, durable and resistant to shrinkage. In addition, the garments include bonded seams for an invisible panty line and a stay-put waistband.

Tencel Lyocell and Modal cellulosic fibers naturally manage the transportation of moisture, contributing to breathable fabrics that provide a less favorable environment for bacterial growth, offering better hygienic qualities, according to Lenzing.

Derived from renewable wood sources using Eco Soft technology, Tencel Intimate cellulosic fibers “gently embrace your body with long-lasting softness to help your skin feel pleasantly cool and dry throughout the day and night,” Lenzing said. “As a result of the smooth fiber surface, Tencel Intimate cellulosic fibers offer an exquisitely gentle quality that creates a barely there feel.”

Hyosung’s Creora line now features materials within its ECO-nomy line, which are made with 100 percent pre-consumer recycled nylon that reduces energy consumption, It also makes Mipan Regen 100 percent post-consumer recycled polyester that conserves petroleum resources; energy-saving Creora eco-soft for low heat settable and soft hand elastane, and water-saving Creora Black dope-dyed black spandex.

The Lycra Company has also taken sustainability to the next level, incorporating environmentally friendly alternatives and innovations into its fibers. Lycra recently launched Eco Made T400 bicomponent stretch derived from post-consumer recycled polyester for its Coolmax and Thermolite lines.

In the area of sustainability, CEO Dave Trerotola said the Lycra manufacturing process has long been more energy efficient than other spandex product.

Eastman Chemical Company introduced its Avra line of recycled performance fibers last month, transforming its existing performance fiber technology by producing with 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET material across the portfolio.

The new recycled Avra offers the same quick drying times, wicking speeds and comfort as the brand’s previous virgin polyester product, while helping reduce waste by upcycling post-consumer recycled PET bottles as feedstock for the fiber.

“The vision for the Eastman Textiles platform is that all innovation will be sustainable,” Ruth Farrell, director of marketing for textiles at Eastman, said.

Avra from Eastman is a family of performance fibers enabled by a proprietary spinning technology. The moisture and thermal management imparted by Avra fibers means fabrics dry up to 50 percent faster than conventional polyester fabrics, while also offering superior drape and softness for greater comfort.

Nilit’s EcoCare yarn eliminates high-energy stages in the production process, conserving resources, while the recycled polymer enables the spinning of high-quality yarns that retain the properties of virgin fibers.

“Producing our Nilit EcoCare recycled yarns significantly conserves resources that promote sustainability,” the company said. “Our highly efficient recycling procedure reduces energy and water consumption compared to our standard practice.”