The outdoor apparel industry has long harnessed a deep connection to nature, with outdoor wear designed specifically for all types of high-performance activity, from hiking to climbing. Performance, functionality and natural comfort are at the heart of outdoor apparel design and often, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of seeking out fabrics that offer the required functionality and sustainability attributes, the latter being a growing concern within the textile industry.
The Search for Natural and Circular Solutions
Synthetic fibers, such as nylon and polyester, have historically dominated outdoors clothing. Whether used alone or as a blending partner, their durability, strength, and lightweight properties have made them an ideal choice for outdoor wear but despite their functional properties, it is important to consider the potential environmental impact of these synthetic materials.
As sustainability becomes an increasing driver of innovation in the segment, demand for circular, biodegradable material alternatives is growing and more brands are turning to natural-based fibers as the answer, investing in fibers such as bamboo, flax, and hemp. Other fibers which have been growing in popularity within the outdoor segment due to their sustainable attributes include lyocell and modal.
With the goal of reducing waste and minimizing the industry's ecological footprint, more and more outdoor brands are turning to natural fibers as a sustainable option with lower environmental impact compared to synthetics. By adopting these sustainable and renewable fibers, brands, and manufacturers can help ease the ecological pressure from the textile industry. One strong contender for alternative fibers are TENCEL™ branded fibers. Derived from wood pulp sourced from responsibly managed forests, TENCEL™ fibers offer manufacturers and consumers a biodegradable, compostable and plastic-free solution for fabric and garment production.
TENCEL™ Outdoor Fabric Collection: Combining Sustainability and Functionality
Made for outdoors apparel, the TENCEL™ brand announced its new Outdoor Fabric collection during the Munich Performance Days earlier this year. The collection was curated in collaboration with fabric pioneers David Parkes and Marco Weichert, alongside experts at Lenzing and aims to accelerate circular and fossil-fuel free fiber solutions for the segment.
Outdoors clothing needs to withstand different factors such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, and UV radiation, making outdoor fabrics much more demanding in terms of quality and functional benefits. Beyond environmental benefits, the fabrics in the TENCEL™ collection ensures a level of performance needed. For example, in smart fabric constructions TENCEL™’s moisture management properties help wick sweat away and evaporate to keep wearers dry and comfortable. It has excellent temperature regulation capabilities, helping to form the perfect basis for wind or water-repellent fabrics. Besides its performance benefits, the fibers boast a luxuriously soft feel against the skin, providing comfort in outdoor activities.
Encompassing a broad range of fabrics, including those incorporating recycled content through Lenzing's TENCEL™ fibers with REFIBRA™ technology, the collection successfully addresses the need for circularity and fossil fuel reduction. Moreover, all the fabrics leverage Lenzing's innovative Fiber Identification technology, ensuring the fibers are identifiable from origin to the final garment. Enabling seamless traceability improves supply chain transparency and empowers partners, brands, and consumers to make informed and conscious decisions.
To illustrate the powers of TENCEL™, Lenzing developed a maximum synthetic-free outdoor jacket with its partners Jeckbeng, Freudenberg, and HerMin Textile Co. The jacket offers exceptional functionality and features a unique rip stop shell fabric is made of 100% TENCEL™ Lyocell, with PFC-free water repellent coating, providing water repellency without plastic components. The padding is crafted from 100% TENCEL™ Lyocell fill fibers with Freudenberg’s biodegradable Comfortemp® material. Other outdoors brands in the market leveraging TENCEL™ fibers include Jack Wolfskin, Timberland and Houdini Sportswear.
We are excited by the launch of the TENCEL™ Outdoors Fabric collection, and what this means for sustainability in the outdoors industry. Along with our partners, we have been able to create a real solution that brings positive change to outdoor apparel and the environment.