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Driving the Adoption of Zero Cotton Fabrics with TENCEL™, Advance Denim and Officina+39

By Partner


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Credits: Lenzing

The fashion industry has long grappled with the environmental toll of its practices, from the large amounts of water and chemicals used to the disposal of textile waste. With each kilogram of virgin cotton demanding a staggering 10,000 liters of water, it is imperative to find alternative solutions to mitigate resource-intensive practices and reduce reliance on virgin resources. With this in mind, the industry has been increasingly exploring different recycling processes, such as mechanical recycling and the scaling of alternative fibers like TENCEL™ Lyocell, a type of man-made cellulosic fiber known for the low environmental impact of its production process.

Denim, in particular, is a sector seeing rapid innovation of non-virgin materials. Historically, the fabric has been associated with certain environmental challenges, such as high demand for virgin cotton and the extensive use of different synthetic dyes and washing processes. That said, a promising shift is taking place, and recent innovations are helping to paint a more optimistic outlook for denim production.

Fiber manufacturer Lenzing is one such company leading this charge. Most recently, Lenzing has collaborated with its supply chain partners, fabric mill Advance Denim and Italian chemical firm Officina+39, to introduce a new collection that seeks to encourage wider adoption of zero cotton fabrics for denim garments. The collection demonstrates zero cotton fabrics’ potential in response to the aesthetic trends desired by brands and consumers. “The purpose of this collaboration is to combine zero cotton garments with our unique eco-washing technique to achieve the authentic conventional look and wash that is generally achieved on cotton denim,” said Andrea Venier, Managing Director of Officina+39.

Set to debut at the latest edition of Kingpins in New York, the new collaboration consists of a collection of innovative zero cotton fabrics for denim. These pioneering fabrics by Advance Denim are made with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers and Officina+39’s special finishing technique: an eco-efficient bleach treatment and an ‘Aqualess’ wash process that reduces water consumption by up to 75% compared to conventional wash processes while simultaneously allowing for a wash-down effect typically seen in cotton denim.

Credits: Lenzing

On the purpose of the specially curated collection, Tuncay Kılıçkan, Lenzing’s Head of Global Business Development, Denim added, “The creation of an authentic vintage look and a respectively drier hand feel using TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers will inspire new design possibilities and aesthetics for denim brands which ultimately means a greater variety of eco-efficient denim options for consumers.”

Made with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, the fabrics from the collection have a natural softness and benefit from the fiber’s moisture-regulating properties to support body temperature regulation. They also possess the unique advantage of being laser sensitive, allowing for precise customization. And combined with Officina+39’s washing techniques, they offer a true alternative solution for authentic-looking denim, which up until now, has been traditionally limited to cotton denim.

The collection with Advance Denim and Officina+39 comes as demand for sustainable fabrics grows. With global cotton production slowly stagnating, the cellulose gap has been filled by the growth in fibres like TENCEL™. By 2025, wood pulp fibers are forecast to account for around 7% of global textile fiber production. Manufacturers are turning to TENCEL™ fibers to address sustainability, traceability, and supply chain challenges associated with conventional cotton production.

That said, it isn’t the first time Lenzing has introduced zero virgin cotton concept offerings. Last April, Lenzing announced its twin fabric collections, ‘Zero Cotton’ and ‘Zero Virgin Cotton’, which incorporate denim fabrics made of zero and recycled cotton, respectively. This pioneering collaboration with fifteen mill partners spanning various countries such as Spain, Türkiye, China, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and others resulted in a diverse range of products that enable fiber circularity while presenting an upgraded denim look with a variety of shades and yarn characters from various supply locations. The extensive scale of this partnership signifies that these concepts are transcending niche status and being widely embraced.

Initiatives like these are all paving the way toward a more eco-efficient future for the denim and textile sector. Yet, for its true success, collaborations between value chain partners remain key. “Lenzing creates the bridge between our mill and brand partners so that we make sure our idea reaches the consumer, and only then can we succeed and create the impact,” concluded Kılıçkan.

Sustainable Fashion