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Textile Firms Expand Products to Emphasize Performance and Sustainability

Fiber and thread manufacturers at the early stages of the apparel and textile supply chain are adding sustainable product enhancements with value-added qualities to their offerings.


The Lenzing Group has expanded the eco-responsible production of its Ecovero brand of viscose fibers to its Lenzing Nanjing Fibers facility in Nanjing, China.

Ecovero, a fiber derived from sustainable wood pulp from certified and controlled sources, has been produced in Lenzing’s Austrian facility since it was launched this past Fall, and since then demand has been strong, which prompted plans to increase production capabilities to accommodate it. The fibers are certified with the EU Ecolabel for environmental excellence awarded to products and services that have a significantly lower environmental impact throughout their lifecycle, from raw material extraction and production to distribution and disposal. A special manufacturing system enables them to be identified in the final product, even after long textile processing and conversion steps throughout the value chain.

“Lenzing Ecovero fibers are the answer to a burning issue in the fashion industry, namely to robustly identify eco-responsible fibers from the producer to the consumer,” Hu Jian, senior vice president, North Asia, for Lenzing. “Thanks to this special manufacturing system, we are supporting the trend in the fashion industry towards greater transparency. It is becoming increasingly important to know where the products come from and which path they have covered.”

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At the same time, Lenzing said capacities will be significantly expanded due to strong demand for its Tencel Luxe filament yarn that was first launched on the market late last year. Lenzing will invest up to 30 million euros ($35 million) in a further pilot line at the Lenzing site in Austria. Basic engineering for construction of the new facility has already been initiated.

“The decision to construct a new line will serve as the basis for generating a three-fold increase in capacity compared to the previous volume,” Lenzing CEO Stefan Doboczky said. “The additional capacity will be available to customers at the end of next year.”

The expansion of the production of Lenzing Ecovero and Luxe fibers signifies the company’s focus on specialty fibers, with a goal of raising the share of specialty fiber revenue to 50 percent by 2020 from the 42 percent.


Invista has combined the comfort and fit of socks made with its Lycra fiber with the performance qualities of its Thermolite Far Infared technology.

According to the company, socks knitted with Thermolite Far Infared technologymust use Lycra in the sock top and leg. Thermolite Far Infared’s lightweight hollow fiber uses special ceramic pigments that generate warmth to keep feet warmer longer. The fiber also has moisture-wicking characteristics, keeping feet dry and comfortable.

The Thermolite Far Infared technology is activated by the sun or artificial light sources, using a blend of near infrared yarns with proprietary additives that absorb the rays to raise the temperature of the garment, while the system’s integrated insulation traps air and minimizes heat loss.

American & Efird

Thread manufacturer American & Efird (A&E) has introduced Repel, an advanced, PFC-Free, water repellency enhancement.

Repel is an additive that can be applied to A&E’s global sewing thread brands. A&E said Repel is well suited for footwear, athletic wear, uniforms, workwear and backpacks.

“Repel is an example of smart innovation, as A&E continues to expand the boundaries of what performance sewing threads can do through the development of advanced and thoughtful products,” Chris Alt, senior vice president of sales at A&E, said.

A&E said its Perma Core, D-Core, Wildcat Plus, Perma Spun and Excell product lines are compatible with Repel, which don’t affect product color when applied. Repel will carry A&E’s PFCZERO designation, as it contains no perfluorocarbons, which are considered greenhouse gases that have been linked to global warming.