Tencel is the trademark name for the fabric, lyocell, both are popularly used to describe the fabric. Lyocell is a cellulose fiber, like rayon, it is made from the pulp from trees broken down with chemicals to create a fiber, like viscose. Unlike the other fabrics, lyocell uses pulp from sustainably sourced trees and recycles the chemical solvents used in the process, creating a closed looped system.
Lyocell is considered part of the rayon family and as they are so similar sometimes I feel like viscose is lumped in with lyocell, but they are so different, mostly because lyocell is so much better for the planet. The process of creating lyocell and viscose uses strong chemicals and bleach, which if not recycled is extremely harmful. Lyocell actually recycles these chemicals to be used again and reduce hazardous waste. If that isn’t enough to convince you to switch to lyocell, they use sustainably sourced wood, typically eucalyptus which is resilient and fast-growing like bamboo.
Part of the process is a transparent supply chain, the customer is aware where the trees grew, how the pulp was sourced and how it is made. Tencel made by the Lenzing company is Oeko Tex 100 certified ensuring there are no harmful substances in the fabric. You can be confident that the fabric and their clothes are sustainable.
Lyocell is also an extremely luxe fabric, resilient and antibacterial. As Tencel itself claims, ‘...more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen’. Like viscose, it is easy to dye and can be combined with cotton or spandex to create different textures. The Ettitude jammies I am wearing on Instagram are organic bamboo lyocell and are a smooth, soft and strong fabric.
I honestly can’t promote lyocell enough. It is one of the most sustainable fabrics on the market and a valid alternative to viscose, rayon, and cotton. As more research goes into sustainable fabrics there will be so much more opportunity for this magic textile!