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What is TENCEL™   and why is it so gosh darn good for the planet? (and your pants!)

What is TENCEL™ and why is it so gosh darn good for the planet? (and your pants!)

Here’s the skinny on TENCEL™:

Like a fancy pants scientist with a bunch of letters after their name, TENCEL™ has a tonne of certifications, so you know it's legit. It's super gentle on the environment, and ‘superlatively soft’ on your skin. Yep, that’s a real word, and one that gets thrown around a lot when talking about Tencel™ (Google ‘superlatively soft fabric’. You’ll see.)

  • It’s made from sustainable wood pulp
  • It’s soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking
  • It has antibacterial properties to keep nasties out of your knickers (10 times more than cotton)
  • More than 99% of the water used to process the fabric is recovered and reused
  • Unlike other materials, its closed-loop solvent system keeps harmful chemicals out of the environment
  • Oh, and its feels amaaaazing on your skin

How is TENCEL™ made?

Our undies literally do grow on trees. 

Not the lovely, endangered, ancient forests that around 30% of other rayon and viscose fabrics come from, though. The fibres used to make your nat’v undies are sourced from sustainable tree farms where they are grown and replaced, specifically to make TENCEL™.

TENCEL™ is a type of rayon, which is the catch-all name for fabrics made from cellulosic fibre (plants).

Traditionally, the process to make rayon is chemically intensive, uses harmful sodium hydroxide and can spill all sorts of crap out into the environment. But TENCEL™ ain’t your traditional fabric. The clever cookies that created it replaced the old way of doing things with recyclable, earth-friendly solvents. Then they built a closed-loop processing system to capture and reuse the water and solvents. Brilliant.

Why are nat’v undies made out of TENCEL™ instead of bamboo or organic cotton? 

It's a valid question. We’re a sustainable undies brand, and they’re the two most common fabrics you hear about being sustainable. They’ve certainly got some great credentials, and are heaps better for the planet than a lot of other fabrics. 

We considered making our undies out of organic cotton, but couldn’t reconcile the sheer volume of arable land and water needed to grow it. It’s often farmed in regions of the world where the water supply is already under immense stress, so we didn’t think it ticked all the boxes we needed to stay true to our mission; to make basics that are better for people and planet.

Bamboo, on the other hand, certainly ticks the box in terms of low water usage. It’s also an excellent crop as it grows so fast and doesn’t need pesticides. Tick, tick, tick. But it was important to us that our undies are super soft to the touch and antibacterial. It’s a bit of a catch 22 that the process to make bamboo fibres soft enough to wear so close to the skin, is a chemically intense one. By the time that process is complete, a lot of bamboo's beneficial qualities, like being naturally antibacterial, have been stripped away. 

TENCEL™:The future of sustainable fashion

Now that you’ve got the word TENCEL™ stuck in your head, hopefully you’ll start to see it more and more! It may be the newest kid on the block for rayon fabric but it’s got the sustainability chops to make real, positive change. We just need more brands to follow suit. To move away from old school, problematic fabrics and towards a more sustainable solution for our future.

And if you haven’t felt the ‘superlatively soft’ fabric for yourself yet, go treat ‘yo self now! Check out our most popular undies to find your perfect style:

Shop nat'v

Cheeky G, Callie Brief or Classic Brief. Mix and match with our collection of Bralettes and Crops.

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