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Sustainability to a new standard: Meet Lenzing and NFW’s plastic-free leather alternative

By Partner


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Image: MIRUM® x TENCEL™ collaboration

It's no secret that the fashion industry faces significant environmental challenges, with traditional textile production consuming a critical amount of vital resources and often relying on practices that are harmful to the planet, such as factory farming and the extraction of fossil fuels.

As consumers become more aware of the environmental concerns associated with certain fashion looks and trends, it has become increasingly important for the textile sector to come up with low-impact alternatives to synthetic, fossil-based materials.

The new MIRUM® and TENCEL™ collaboration, which debuted at LINEAPELLE, the international trade fair for the leather industry earlier this spring, is a true innovation, a categorically new material, one that enhances the comfort and functionality of MIRUM®. A versatile material that can be used for a broad range of applications across several industries, including footwear, fashion apparel, furniture, and more, MIRUM® is made completely free from plastic with natural rubber and plant oils for binding, rather than using polyurethane binders, which many leather-free alternatives do while the choice of TENCEL™ fibres as a backer gives the final product increased transparency, traceability, and enhanced physical comfort.

Image: MIRUM® x TENCEL™ collaboration

As a plant-based fabric backer, TENCEL™ branded fibres offer up their signature benefits and physical properties of being soft and comfortable due to the smooth surface of the fibre itself while also offering excellent moisture management properties. TENCEL™ branded fibres are also incredibly durable, ensuring that products made from MIRUM® fabric backed by TENCEL™ fibres are long-lasting.

In addition to the functional and physical benefits of TENCEL™ fibres, the circularity and traceability credentials behind TENCEL™ fibres make them an ideal choice for MIRUM®. TENCEL™ fibres are made from renewable wood sources and are produced through an eco-friendly closed-loop production process, ensuring that they have minimal impact on the environment. These fibres are fully identifiable, verifiable and traceable through Lenzing’s Fiber Identification technology which enables a physical identification of the fibre origin at different stages of production. Enabling full traceability of the fibres used during the production process, be it on a piece of fabric or a finished product, this guarantees the validity of MIRUM® and TENCEL™ products, protecting them from counterfeiting while solidifying the product's sustainability credentials.

NFW takes a distinctive approach that utilises a variety of natural ingredients, such as biobased charcoal, clay, cork powder, rice hulls, coconut fibres, recycled denim, or seaweed to add colour or visual interest. MIRUM®-based products can also be recycled to create new MIRUM® products or repurposed as soil amendments at the end of their lifecycle while TENCEL™ fibres are compostable and biodegradable, meaning all ingredients can re-enter the ecosystem and do not pollute the planet.

Both NFW and Lenzing believe plant matter to be among the best material to scale the replacement of plastic in the fashion industry. By producing a low-carbon, plastic-free alternatives, the two aim to aid brands, retailers and manufacturers in significantly reducing their environmental impact. This exciting innovative partnership between two leaders, MIRUM® and TENCEL™ also highlights the importance of collaboration between companies to bring about meaningful change in the fashion and textile industry.