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Redefining premium denim fabrics with TENCEL™, Kaihara and Jeanologia

By Partner


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Credits: Kaihara

Clothing and woven textiles are a fundamental part of everyday life. As a vital segment in the global economy, the textile industry encompasses a range of stakeholders, from raw material providers to fashion retailers. Central to this is value chain collaboration, crucial for operational efficiency, reduced lead times, and optimised production costs. It also fosters innovation, R&D, and quality improvements, serving as the pillar for the industry's sustainable growth.

For leading fiber producer Lenzing, value chain collaboration ensures adaptability and success in the ever-changing textile world. Recent Lenzing initiatives like the Fiber Recycling Initiative highlight the company's dedication to both quality enhancement and large-scale transformation for the textile industry. These partnerships allow Lenzing to craft custom solutions for its partners while also providing a comprehensive understanding of certain technical or manufacturing challenges they face, thereby bolstering mutual growth potential.

The success of these ongoing partnerships has also helped to drive the wide adoption of wood-based fibers such as TENCEL™, since joint marketing, shared R&D, and collective advocacy efforts increase both industry and consumer awareness of the alternative fibers that are available in the market. This is especially clear in the denim segment, where zero or reduced cotton fabrics have gained traction for their lower environmental impact. Now, Lenzing has announced the newest step in its partnership with leading fabric and denim manufacturer Kaihara in a collaboration that merges the heritage and reputation of Kaihara’s denim with the TENCEL™ brand’s expertise in fiber innovation, achieving new heights for the denim market.

Kaihara has been Lenzing’s long-standing partner, having adopted and woven TENCEL™ branded fibers into its commercial collections since 1994, when the fibers were introduced to the Japanese market. The denim mill and the fiber producer share a commitment to creativity, excellence and responsible production practices[1]. Pushing the boundaries of denim manufacturing using wood-based fibers like TENCEL™, as opposed to synthetics, Kaihara and Lenzing continue to build on their nearly three-decade-long partnership with the launch of a new premium denim capsule collection.

Credits: Kaihara

At Kingpins Hong Kong this year, Lenzing partners with Kaihara and Jeanologia to unveil a specially curated capsule collection featuring several Kaihara denim fabrics that incorporate the use of TENCEL™ fibers. The collection also uses different technologies from denim firm Jeanologia, from dry finishing and laser technology to washing methods employing eFlow and G2 technologies. Alongside TENCEL™’s innovations, these versatile applications of Jeanologia’s technologies helped to reduce water and chemical consumption during the denim manufacturing process.

These fabrics aim to create jeans beyond casualwear, demonstrating the premium application of Kaihara fabrics. The latest collaboration comes as part of Kaihara’s overseas expansion strategy and aims to introduce Kaihara to international denim aficionados through the help of TENCEL™. As global demand for high-end responsible denim grows, incorporating TENCEL™ Lyocell and TENCEL™ Modal fibers in their products helps Kaihara update their product portfolio to capture the growing market of conscious brands and consumers, while the partnership with Jeanologia enabled Kaihara to preserve a balance of both traditional denim washing and optimized, resource-efficient techniques. Combining TENCEL™ fibers with Jeanologia helped infuse Kaihara’s denim fabrics with a unique, authentic touch, elevating the final denim’s overall design and offering a true denim look paired with a soft, comfortable texture. The inclusion of TENCEL™ fibers also supports a natural dry feeling and high colour fastness in resulting denim fabrics – characteristics that align with the diverse functional, aesthetic and requirements that global brands and consumers are seeking in their denim products today.

Moreover, in considering the impact of denim production, the importance of dyeing and washing techniques cannot be overstated. For example, employing dry finishing is a popular application nowadays to provide an ecological process that removes loose surface fibres and unfixed dyes, prepping unwashed garments for latter washing finishes.

In addition, eFlow nano-bubbles technologies in low liquors and chemicals consumption, as well as the G2 application for shade decolouration without using any chemicals, which are also applied in this Jeanologia collection, allowed for reduced water and chemicals usage, taking a comparative environmentally friendly impact to denim washing process in the industry. Kaihara’s use of TENCEL™ fibers also helps to scale up their use of wood-based materials, yet it continues to maintain the detailed craftmanship background that fabrics by Kaihara have come to be known for. For example, TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology helps achieving denim dyeing with a smaller environmental footprint[2], allowing Kaihara to continue to excel at indigo-dyeing with a planet-conscious mindset. In partnering with Lenzing, Kaihara is effectively taking steps to address the evolving demands of the denim industry while propelling it into more responsible practices.

As for Lenzing, recognising the power of collaboration, the fiber producer consistently places partnerships at the forefront of its growth strategy. This commitment, epitomised by its three-decade relationship with Kaihara, is a testament to mutual growth and the shared vision of redefining textiles with environmental impact as a key consideration. “We are confident in the potential impact that wood-based fibers like TENCEL™ have in transforming fabrics that our partners, such as Kaihara produce,” said Dennis Hui, Global Business Development Manager, Denim at Lenzing. “As the denim industry evolves, there also needs to be innovative technologies by companies like Jeanologia that are poised to help weave a seamless future where style, comfort, and environmental responsibility coalesce.”

[1] TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fiber production processes are continuously refined to maximize resource efficiency and minimize environmental impact at every stage. Consequently, carbon emissions and water consumption of TENCEL™ fibers are up to 50% lower compared to generic lyocell and modal fibers.

[2] Indigo Color technology locks blue pigments directly in the TENCEL™ Modal fiber and no additional dyeing processes are needed. Consequently, this technology leads to significant savings in water (>99%), chemicals (>80%), electricity (>99%), wastewater (>99%) and heat energy (100%). Additionally, as the indigo color is incorporated within the TENCEL™ Modal fiber, the resulting textiles are characterized by high color fastness.

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