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TENCEL™ insights
22 / 04 / 2024
TENCEL™ x Regenerative cotton: a new era of responsible denim production
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TENCEL™ insights
22 / 04 / 2024
TENCEL™ x Regenerative cotton: a new era of responsible denim production

The denim industry is at a pivotal moment where sustainability is no longer a mere buzzword but a necessity. As a result, the industry is focused on improving the cultivation and sourcing of one of the most predominantly used raw materials, cotton. Regenerative agricultural practices are becoming more prevalent as a way to grow cotton. This is a positive development as this alternative farming method promises to “restore soil and ecosystem health, address inequity, and leave our land, waters, and climate in better shape for future generations.”[1]

We sat down with Tuncay Kılıçkan, Head of Global Business Development, Denim, Lenzing to explore the many benefits of regenerative cotton for the denim sector and learn more about how TENCEL™ is collaborating with 18 mills to create a regenerative cotton collection.

1. How is regenerative cotton defined and why does the denim industry need it?

The denim industry has always been highly reliant on cotton as the main raw material. With the increasing need to be more sustainable the denim industry is exploring new ways of cultivating cotton which traditionally requires large amounts of land, water and chemicals.

Regenerative cotton is grown using regenerative farming methods. These go beyond traditional organic methods. Not only does it reduce the need for harmful fertilizers and pesticides but focuses on nurturing the health of the soil used for growing crops and enhancing the biodiversity of ecosystems. The method aims to improve soil fertility which can lead to higher yields and more resilient crops over time. Healthy soils also absorb and store more carbon, helping to mitigate climate change.

By using regenerative cotton in denim products which are still widely popular and a wardrobe staple, the fashion industry can take a step towards a more sustainable future. Increasingly, this is what consumers want and it’s apparent this is what our planet needs.

2. What role do TENCEL™ fibers play in enhancing denim products made with regenerative cotton?

As part of the drive to make the fashion industry more sustainable, a recent EU Directive[2] is stipulating that products must be more durable and last longer. The addition of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, which have high tenacity, to denim products made with regenerative cotton enhances the strength of the denim fabric. The resulting denim products will therefore be capable of withstanding greater wear and tear, lasting longer and decreasing the need to replace them even after rigorous washing and drying.

In addition, for popular baggy and flared denim jean styles, which are traditionally more rigid and made out of non-stretch material, the adding of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers will enhance the softness and comfort level of the product, while providing a more premium and luxurious feel to the touch.

3. What can you tell us about the TENCEL™ x Regenerative cotton collection?

Showcased at the Kingpins Amsterdam April 2024 Show, the collection is the first large-scale denim collection made of TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers and regenerative cotton.

We have partnered with 18 different fabric mills from around the world to create products that cater for a variety of different price points – from high-end premium denim products to affordable pieces.

The overall look of the collection is refreshingly modern, featuring current trends of baggy, wide-leg and loose-fitting shapes which showcase the versatility of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers. This shift in style is after a long period dominated by stretch and skinny jeans.

4. How does this collection realize Lenzing’s vision in creating a sustainable denim and textile industry?

At Lenzing, we regard ourselves as change agents, through collaboration with value chain partners, we are prepared to catalyze change. As a leading producer of specialty cellulosic fibers, we are focused on driving the adoption of more sustainable practices in the textile sector, including denim.

Through the TENCEL™ x Regenerative cotton collection, we want to demonstrate the design potential and versatility of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers in complementing and elevating the sustainable benefits of regenerative cotton to encourage more brands and manufacturers to incorporate responsible botanic fibers in their collections.

As the TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers have high tenacity, the durability of the final products of the collection will support the need for durable denim products as part of the overall sustainability debate.

At the same time, the collection demonstrates our commitment to bringing positive impact to not only the denim and textile industry but also to the wider community and stakeholders to ensure natural resources are better managed and restored for future generations.

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[1] https://www.nrdc.org/stories/regenerative-agriculture-101#what-is

[2] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20240112IPR16772/meps-adopt-new-law-banning-greenwashing-and-misleading-product-information

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