I've apologised enough on my newsletter, and the whole "these uncertain times" prompt deserves nothing more than an eye roll at this point - so let's change subject:
My new fabric: silky smooth Tencel twill
You've probably heard of viscose, or rayon.
Rayon's a man-made fibre, but made from cellulose so its properties are similar to natural plant fibres such as cotton and linen.
It was first invented in the XIX century, and has come a long way since then: from cheaper alternative to silk - that was also highly flammable; to a smoother alternative to cotton - that shrinks when washed… until it evolved into modal and then lyocell, both high quality fibres used by respectable brands.
Tencel® is the brand name of lyocell produced by an Austrian company called Lenzing, and here's why I need to be a total brand whore about it:
It's not sustainable if it's not traceable.
Just like paper, any fibre in the rayon family's made from wood pulp, therefore plant-based, biodegradable and made from renewable sources.
But who can tell what trees were cut down to be turned into wood pulp? And what happened to the solvents used in the production process? Were they simply dumped into the nearest lake?
Choosing Tencel instead of any viscose or rayon means I'm buying from a company that uses certified wood from controlled sources, and employs a closed loop production process, meaning: 99% of the water and solvents used are recycled and then reused in the next production cycle.
But what good is eco-friendly if the final product sucks?
Will it last? Will it shrink?
Rayon fabrics are tricky: some shrink when washed, some are prone to pilling (those little fluff balls on wool socks and sweaters), and some just look and feel cheap.
But not this Tencel twill: I've already washed the first prototypes - the first printed version, at least twice; and the blank one countless times, as I kept it for myself and wear it often - and the fabric's kept its soft touch and smooth surface.
Better than cotton?
Another property of Tencel that makes it feel so good on your skin: it's 50% more absorbent than cotton, so it quickly absorbs sweat and prevents the growth of B.O. causing bacteria.
And since it's made from eucalyptus trees, that can grow much quicker and need much less water than cotton, it's easy to jump to conclusion that Tencel's the ultimate sustainable fibre - but who am I to say anything man-made is better than what nature developed in aeons of evolution?
What I can say is: this was a great addition to my wardrobe, and I can't help looking classy even when I do wear my kimono robe as pyjamas (with or without pants).