what is lyocell?
What is lyocell?
With a name like ‘lyocell’, and a list of useful properties as long as your arm, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is some sort of highly engineered, lab-made synthetic. But of course, it isn’t (if it were, we wouldn’t use it). Lyocell is a natural, sustainable fibre derived from eucalyptus trees: it’s softer than silk, hypoallergenic, naturally thermoregulating, and with a very low environmental impact. It’s something of a miracle fabric and we like to use it wherever we can across our range of underwear, pyjamas, and loungewear.
It starts with the eucalyptus tree
Lyocell is a natural cellulose fibre that’s harvested from the eucalyptus tree – a renewable resource that’s grown in regulated forests in Spain and Portugal. Before you even get to the myriad benefits of the end product, there are many advantages to the actual growing process. The eucalyptus tree is felled rather than uprooted, meaning there’s no need to continuously replant trees, and they also grow very quickly. They don’t require irrigation or pesticides, they can grow in poor, rocky soil that can’t sustain other plant life, and best of all they require 20 times less water than a cotton crop equivalent.
Not only is the growing stage low impact, but fibre extraction process is too. Compared even to similar natural fibres – bamboo, modal – the production of lyocell creates very little waste and is practically a closed-loop system. Where some other fibres require sulphuric acid as part of the extraction process, lyocell uses amine oxide, which is a natural compound. No harmful by-products are produced, and 99% of the solvent can be recycled.
We believe it’s important to cut out synthetic fibres wherever possible. 70% of all clothing is still made from synthetic fibres like polyester, acrylic, and nylon, and the vast majority of that is virgin. Use of these materials is particularly prevalent in underwear manufacture, and where some clothing brands have now committed to using natural fibres, there are still very few options when it comes to underwear. Besides the initial impact involved in producing them, synthetic materials shed microplastics when washed, which break down further once they reach landfill or the oceans, eventually entering the food chain.
Last but not least
If we’re talking about underwear, then the single most important quality is comfort. In the case of lyocell, it’s even softer than silk, making it incredibly well suited to sitting directly against the skin. It wicks moisture and regulates temperature, and even has natural antibacterial properties.
You can browse a selection of our best-selling lyocell underwear, loungewear, and pyjamas here.