Lyocell: the fabric, the myth, the legend

What is lyocell I hear you ask? I know that in terms of fabrics and textiles, you’ve heard of the most common materials such as cotton, silk, leather, linen and polyester. But lyocell, also know by one of its brand names Tencel, is a type of fabric that has been around for a few decades now.

It’s what is known as a ‘semi-synthetic fiber’ in its earlier stages of formation, meaning that although its production requires the use of machinery and technology to get it ready to turn into fabrics and clothing, it’s source is actually pretty natural.

So why is this fabric an image of the future? Here are some reasons why I’m into this futuristic material.

Efficient Production

So when lyocell exists in its first form, as a plant and solvent mixture, it follows on to being spun into threads. Once this is performed, you get left over materials in the production process. For most methods of textile production, waste materials are either toxic or harmful to the environment in some way. Sadly this is the result of practices that have been carried out for a long time that get over looked because they are the easiest way of getting to the end result.

Photo by Retha Ferguson on

With lyocell however, its quite different. This textile can be produced and have its leftover resources put back into the cycle of production to be reused again. This is obviously fantastic news as little waste as possible is the best outcome for the protection of the environment.

Environmental Impact

So lyocell is a pretty eco friendly material, especially surrounding its impact on the environment. Since its made of nature fibers from trees, this means that if it comes to the end of its life cycle as a piece of clothing, it can safely be left to degrade without much harm to nature.

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We love ourselves some biodegradable fabrics, as this leaves the least amount of toxic imprints on our planet. If we can avoid the kinds of fabrics that leave a trail of destruction to nature and its inhabitants, we can potentially save the future of our Earth.

Soft to the Touch

Lyocell is manufactured from a liquid viscous solvent substance, which means that the threads can be made as fine as is possible. With this, the weaves of lyocell threads one put together make a lovely and soft fabric finish.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on

Compare this to the feel of the softest cotton fabrics. Except that its even softer than that. I find that even when this fabric is washed with minimal amounts of laundry softener, it still comes out with a beautiful texture.

Lyocell is Strong

Its long threads make another brilliant property of it possible – for its strength. Lyocell is one of those fabrics that compete well with other natural fibers of a similar description, but since it is created with these long, viscous strands, it helps it immensely in keep it from fraying or breaking apart that easily.

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Its a fantastic property to look for in a natural fiber that can last and last when well cared for. Its similarity to viscose actually gives it these similar long lasting qualities, which is something that I think will be around well into the future.

No Creases – It Bounces Back!

Once again, its production contributes to another wonderful quality. Its ability to stay wrinkle free is a gift thanks to the molecules that make up lyocell. The ability to have elastic potential means that it works like a smart material, almost being able to think for itself.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Being able to ‘think for itself’, or simply have memory of its original shape supports its continually smooth and lovely exterior. So there’ll be no need to pull out the iron every time you get this item out, because the material is pretty self maintaining!

These are some of the simple factors that make lyocell so good to work with. There’s still a future to make this fabric even better in the future, but for now these reasons are good enough to get me on board with its brilliance.

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