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With a career spanning forty years in product development for LE Textiles, formally known as ELASTIC, and now part of Lauma Fabrics Group, Harald Mai, has always been charged with research and developments and introducing new innovative products to the intimates market.
As Director of R&D, Mai helped to develop a cotton elastic knitted fabric that was certified Cradle to Cradle by the EPEA – Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency International in Hamburg.
Disenfranchised with the environmental impact of farming cotton, Mai set out to find an alternative, low-impact fiber that was sustainable and had the finest attributes necessary to compete in the premium intimates market. Mai found that alternative in 2014 when he began collaborating with Lenzing Fibers. Through extensive R&D Mai was able to create the first warp knitted fabrics using TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers. Other innovations soon followed including a cradle to cradle warp knitted powernet fabric, a cradle to cradle standard warp knitting construction fabric, a special power warp knitting fabric for molding and a warp knitted lace, pattern yarn fabric, to name a few.
“TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers speaks for itself”, says Mai. “Sustainability is a big topic being researched and is of growing interest in the intimates market”, he adds. Mai sees many benefits to using TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers. From a cultivation standpoint, TENCEL™ Lyocell is produced from renewable wood sources using a closed loop production process making for a low-impact fiber.
Today the company is producing twenty to thirty different fabrics with TENCEL™ Lyocell and has seen growth in the market with more and more brands looking for unconventional, environmentally sound fabrics that don’t take away from the look, feel and performance that their customers have come to expect. “Our TENCEL™ fiber made fabrics are warp knitted and we are currently the only warp knitter working with TENCEL™ brand” states Mai.
Warp knitted lace patterns in TENCEL™ Lyocell
In addition to its sustainable features, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers has other benefits that Mai says are an important part to the fibers appeal, “we’ve seen in numerous instances that our fabrics made with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers have had positive effects on sensitive skin*.” TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are naturally soft and have enhanced breathability properties that help regulate body temperature,
With its ongoing focus on innovation, LE Textiles has grown into one of Europe’s leading fabric companies for the intimates market. The company currently works with some of the largest brands in the market including Triumph, Chantelle and Felina, to name a few. Mai adds, “I was looking for a better alternative to cotton, because of the environment and I found TENCEL™ brand fibers, it is not only “one of the best for the environment”; it maybe “the best for the skin*, too.”
Not one to be satisfied with the status quo, Mai continues to work with TENCEL™ fibers and looks to technology for innovations in product development, constantly working to create new fabrics that drive the industry forward.
*Based on opinion, not supported by scientific evidence