please select your preferred language
B2B TransparencyIn this connected world, consumer awareness of climate impact is on the rise, leading to an increase in sustainable lifestyle changes - such as choosing brands which demonstrate environmentally sustainable practices or values. Therefore, brands and retailers who respond to consumers’ changing sustainability needs will be in a stronger position moving forward.
We spoke to Gülfem Oral, Global Business Development Sr. Manager at Fashion Wovens & Sweater Knits, Lenzing, about the progress of sustainability and circular economy in fashion, meeting the changing needs of consumers, and what makes TENCEL™ branded fibers stand out in this space.
Q: How do you feel sustainability in fashion has progressed so far?
Gülfem: The purchasing power and rising interest among Millennial and Gen Z consumers around sustainability is making the fashion industry more conscious than ever about purchasing fabrics which use sustainable fibers. These two groups, primarily, are driving the growing demand for eco-responsible alternatives, as consumers are pushing brands to seek greater sustainability and align on their values and causes.
Millennial and Gen Z consumers are also looking at what happens at the end of a product’s life. How will their clothes continue in the world? This is where circularity comes in to play in the fashion industry. For many years, the fashion industry has used resources to produce its clothes which are harmful to the environment once the item is discarded, it then ends up in landfill or is burned. It is estimated that fashion accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.
To combat climate change and play a key role in helping the environment, Lenzing is pushing the industry towards a fully-fledged circular economy by striving to give waste a new life. We co-develop circular solutions with partners inside and outside the current value chain because we are aware that sustainable and efficient processing of all raw materials is required to protect the environment.
Q: You mentioned that brands are wanting to align themselves with consumers’ values and beliefs. How has that shaped the trends and product offerings we see in store?
Gülfem: Consumers are now looking to invest in sustainable fashion brands. We are striving to make sustainability communication easier for brands through our various collaborations and digital offerings.
For example, we have collaborated with brands such as Bleed Clothing on a knitted jumper featuring fabrics made of plant-based TENCEL™ Lyocell and vegan silk TENCEL™ Lyocell. We also teamed up with Banana Republic on a sweater and short set for a baby featuring an incredibly soft and smooth blend of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers which are derived from certified renewable wood sources and produced using methods that reduce water impact and emissions by up to 50% compared to traditional viscose.
In addition, we are continuing our efforts to pioneer the digitalization of value chain management through our E-Branding Service which provides users with supporting certification and identification of products as well as co-branding activities for greater convenience and enhanced transparency across the value chain.
Q: As for brands looking to increase their sustainability offerings, what makes TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ the fiber of choice to partner with?
Gülfem: Our TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are extracted from sustainably grown wood using a unique closed loop system which recovers and reuses the solvents used, minimizing the environmental impact of production. This process ensures that unique physical properties lead to their high tenacity profile, efficient moisture management, and gentle feel on skin. TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers have a smooth fiber surface compared to natural fibers like cotton and wool which have a high moisture uptake but a rough fiber surface, while polyester has a smooth surface but does not absorb moisture.
LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers have been certified with the EU Ecolabel, a designation of environmental excellence given to products meeting high environmental standards throughout their life cycle. Furthermore, the manufacturing of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose.
Q: What are some other key trends you see for ready-to-wear fashion this year?
Gülfem: The fashion trends for the upcoming 2023/24 Autumn-Winter season are all about sustainability and traceability, with brands focusing on using recycled materials and promoting ethical fashion practices.
We expect the most popular trends this year in ready-to-wear fashion to be shiny fabrics which create shine effects on the surface of garments, along with novelty yarns being used to achieve 3D textures and mechanical brushing adding hairiness and a velvety touch to clothing.
Overall, the fashion trends for the upcoming season are all about creating unique, sustainable pieces that are not only beautiful but also environmentally responsible.