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Filippa K Gets First Crack at Lenzing’s Newest Fibers

The Lenzing Group has been up to its fair share of collaborations to advance circularity in the fashion space. Two recent innovations, involving multiple players, include biodegradable fabric backers for plant-based leather alternatives and end-of-life solutions for poly-blended textile waste.

With Tencel as its flagship, the Austrian cellulosic fiber producer known for its man-made Lyocell and Modal fibers that are derived from sustainable wood sources and processed through a closed-loop system for reduced environmental impact. All Tencel brand products provide transparency throughout each phase of its supply chain with Lenzing’s Fiber Identification technology.

The Allbirds’ Plant Pacer, the result of a partnership with NFW (Natural Fiber Welding Inc.), a plant-based material solutions company headquartered in Illinois, speaks to the versatility of Tencel application. The shoe, which debuted last fall, consists of NFW’s patented Mirum upper, a plastic-free leather alternative made exclusively from plants, and is lined with a sustainable Tencel backing.

“By adding fabrics made of Tencel to Mirum, we can enhance material transparency and traceability, while guaranteeing comfort and great hand feel on the skin,” said Oihana Elizalde, vice president and general manager of Mirum at NFW

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The recyclability of Mirum, combined with the compostability of Tencel, suggest circular opportunities for luxury fashion, accessories, automotive, and home goods sectors. Samples of  these leather alternatives are being showcased at Lineapelle 2023 in Milan this week.

Mirum x Tencel

More recently, a breakthrough project, co-developed by Södra, the largest forest industry group in Sweden, aims to “give waste a new life” by offsetting 25 thousand tons of textile waste year after year by 2025. 

In 2019, Södra introduced OnceMore, the world’s first operation for upcycling blended fabrics on a commercial scale. Through this proprietary process, cotton is separated from poly-blended textile waste to create a renewable by-product that, once combined with wood harvested from Södra members’ responsibly managed forests, becomes a high alpha cellulose virgin pulp with circularity opportunities. 

Developed further through Lenzing’s Refibra closed-loop recycling technology, OnceMore has broken ground as a raw material for Tencel x Refibra, a high-quality virgin Tencel Lyocell fiber made with up to one-third recycled content that is Recycled Content Standard (RCS) certified. 

Filippa K x Lenzing

The Tencel x Refibra pilot fibers are to make their first appearance as a finished fabric, manufactured by Riopele, one of Portugal’s oldest textile mills, and transformed into Filippa K’s fully traceable Spring/Summer 2024 collection.

“We wanted to develop a base cloth that was versatile for different product types,” said Jodi Everding, vice president of sustainability at Filippa K. She says the brand aims to use recycled inputs whenever it can in an effort to support its resource efficiency. “For this new fabric we have full traceability back to the recycled inputs,” Everding added. The luxurious crepe fabric, reportedly heavy enough for a pair of trousers but also drapey enough for a dress, is to debut at Paris Fashion Week in June. 

“One company alone can’t solve the pressing issue of textile waste. It is proactive partnerships like this that enable us to move forward and bring about real systemic change,” said Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer fiber of the Lenzing Group.