Old favourites go by many names. And when it comes to fabrics, there are many brands and technical names. One such category of fabrics getting plenty of attention at the moment is viscose. Although it has been called the fabric of the future, there are also concerns about it being hazardous to both health and the environment. So what gives?
Rayon was registered as a brand in 1924 in USA. It is the name of a fabric intended as an alternative to silk, first in hosiery and later on in entire garments. In Sweden, the name of the fabric translated to faux silk, but the correct technical name is viscose.
In the production of ordinary viscose, wood chips are used, typically from spruce trees, which are then dissolved using chemicals. From the viscose pulp, textile fibres are extracted through a nozzle.
The main issue with this technology has to do with one of the substances used in ordinary production, carbon sulphide, which is hazardous to the environment and factory workers. As a fashion company, we are very excited about advances with this technology that have been made over the last few years and which are still going on today. The best example is Tencel. It is a fibre that is manufactured entirely without the use of hazardous chemicals. The forest product that is used as the raw material is sustainable eucalyptus.
“Current Swedish research into how Swedish forest products can be used in sustainable viscose fabric is very exciting,” says Marcus Bergman, Head of Sustainability at Gina Tricot. “We have a lot of forest in Sweden and our forestry knowledge is advanced. Viscose fibres are also typically soft, comfortable and shiny. The products we already have in Tencel are great examples, such as our new jeans shirts that will soon be in stores!” says Bergman.