Announcing what is possibly the world’s most sustainable AND ethical eco-blend fabric for the premium luxury market. Im privileged to have the opportunity to work with Lenzing and use their newly developed luxury yarn TENCEL™ LUXE and create a brand new textile by blending with the world's most sustainable and ethical silk; a GOTS organic Peace Silk made by an incredible rural Indian sericulture Coop that STSC are proud to represent.
We've taken the most sustainable certified cellulose yarn that's produced in a 99% closed loop system as the starting point and after almost one year of dedicated R&D, the results are magical. Textiles range from 45%, 60% and up to 80% TENCEL™ LUXE blended with the pure silk to make plain weave, Twill and even a sublime Double Satin.
Lenzing's latest lyocell filament heralds a new era of sustainable high-end cellulose fabrics offering superior aesthetics, performance and comfort level that allow them to be the perfect partner with other fibres such as Lenzing’s own TENCEL™ lyocell. The fine lyocell filament yarn is comparable to natural silk due to its luxurious aesthetics, airy feeling on the skin, matte finish, with a silky feel and flowing drape. These fabrics can be eco-dyed and eco-digitally printed with brilliant results.
TENCEL™ LUXE is made from sustainably sourced wood pulp, and produced using Lenzing’s “closed loop” production process. This process ensures minimal environmental impact thanks to low-process water and energy use, raw material and chemical consumption. It has been awarded the European Award for the Environment from the European Union.
Other blends include cashmere, wool, linen and Econyl plus a 100% TENCEL™ LUXE with our Japanese mill. You can read more indepth information on TENCEL™ LUXE here. When Lenzing asked me to be one of a few select fabric wholesalers to offer their newly developed luxury blend TENCEL™ LUXE yarn I was honoured.
I first saw it blended with a stunning “regular boil-them alive” organic silk, but I thought we can still go one step better and I proposed to partner the TENCEL™ LUXE with my other Mill's equally beautiful and sustainable Peace Silk that is also organic.
ORGANIC PEACE SILK .
Also known as Ahimsa Silk, Non-violent Silk or Cruelty free silk. This coo-op shares STSC's belief system, where we are opposed to “regular” silk where the silk worm is boiled alive and toxic chemicals are used to de-gum the cocoon. This Indian sericulture group have created a modern form of rural cooperation where it’s important to them that they treat the silk worms, themselves, their community and their environment with utmost care.
By working as a co-op, the production is cleverly decentralized to allow the silk farmers, spinners, weavers etc. to work directly from their own areas. The different units of cocoons, yarns and ready textiles are then connected and stored at a centralized headquarters.
The co-op follows a corporate social responsibility platform, where sustainable utilisation of manpower, ecology and natural resources work together. The living standards of the project members are higher, where the weavers have a comfortable lifestyle and their children are attending local schools. The women in the group are able to adapt their new professional skills allowing for social and economic self-dependency.
There are zero pesticides or genetic sprays used on the leaves or host mulberry trees feeding the worms which often creates a double crop. To create biodiversity, they have cultivated rice and potato along with the mulberry host trees. Ecologically, the entire region appears significantly greener than previous times.
During the silk farming stage, where they rear silkworms to produce silk, this occurs mainly in free nature and in some cases, indoors. To keep silkworms safe from harmful insects or birds, large mosquito netting is attached to protect each tree where the silkworms live and breed. In some cases, a Bio-Spray may be used.
SERICULTURE / SILK FARMING.
Once the cocoons are ready, they are placed indoors on a bamboo platform. In case of Tussar silk, the cocoons are hung vertically from the ceiling using jute strings. In approximately one week, silk butterflies (moths) hatch out themselves or in some cases the cocoons need to be pierced by well-trained staff to assist the moth. Each cocoon is checked that its empty and is then forwarded to the degumming department. That is why the silk is known as Peace silk.
The process of eliminating “Gum (sericin)” and impurities from raw silk is known as degumming of silk. This is done by adding natural bio soap in the hot boiling water. Occasionally hydrogen peroxide is used to make different shades 3 of silk yarn uniform.
CERTIFICATION by REACH & GOTS.
In commercial “regular” silk, toxic metals such as Chromium, Barium, Lead, Iron or Sodium magnesium are used during the degumming process of ´silk- weighting´ to make silk yarns heavier. These chemicals are not used or permitted in our production.
Four out of our twenty power looms have been upgraded with solar powered motors. Spinning and reeling is processed either manually or with solar machines. This makes 70% of our spinning and weaving operation zero-carbon. Packing and storing of the product is mainly done with jute bags or reclaimed cardboards. Transport of cocoons or ready yarns to weavers in different areas is done by public transport state roadways or Indian railway. Water usage is minimised in our production process with reclaiming used water by filtering the old used water. Residue from cocoon degumming is used as compost for agriculture.