Design & Sustainability on

Between the Threads: Tencel®, unplugged

— By: The Team at Nau

Don’t Touch Me ‘Cause I’m Electric

Shuffle across a nylon carpet, rub a latex balloon on your noggin, maybe even pry a polyester shirt out of the dryer and you’re reminded that there are other forces at work on this planet. This isn’t shocking; like people, many materials—including the fabrics we wear—hold a charge. But every once in a while, there comes along a fabric that doesn’t take sides, that’s indifferent to a little friction.

Enter Tencel®: the newest sustainable fiber in our Spring 2012 line-up. Made from the pulp of sustainably grown eucalyptus trees, this regenerating fiber has been scientifically proven to have “neutral electric properties” which could be one of the many reasons why Tencel® is noticeably  smoother and more comfortable next to the skin compared to synthetic fabrics.

In fact, in a recent study using electromyography, a method developed by orthopedics to detect the excitability of muscles beneath the skin, 100% polyester fibers created a spontaneous electrical body charge when compared to cellulose fibers such as linen or TENCEL® (Schuster 2006). In other words: wear TENCEL® and you won’t be shocked by this finding.

Of course, this is just one of the many reasons why we love TENCEL®. In addition to its not-so-magnetic personality, TENCEL® absorbs water (as opposed to polyester which repels) which allows it to act like a conduit—regulating body temperature and creating a cool, next-to-the-skin feel. Compared to other natural and synthetic fabrics (see pic above), Tencel®’s smooth fiber structure is incredibly soft to the touch for one of the most skin-friendly fibers.

Most importantly, this regenerating fiber is manufactured using an extremely efficient, closed-loop system which uses a non-toxic organic solvent solution. 98% of the materials used to process TENCEL® are recovered and reused making TENCEL® the most eco-friendly, regenerating fiber.

Schuster K., Suchomel F., Manner J., Abu-Rous M., Firgo H. Functional and Comfort Properties of Textiles from TENCEL® Fibers Resulting from the Fibres’ Water-Absorbing Nanostructure: A Review. Macromol. Sym. 2006, 244, 149-165.

Words by Leighann Franson.