From within our own range here at From Milly With Love, to environmentally conscious designer labels and high street brands, you can find a wide range of garments made from Tencel fabric. But what is Tencel? And how does it benefit you?

Tencel 101

TENCEL® is actually a brand name owned by Austrian company Lenzing AG. As such, Tencel is essentially a trademarked lyocell fabric.

As a bio-based material, Tencel is a natural fibre made from wood pulp, typically sourced from eucalyptus, beech, birch and spruce trees. During production, the wood pulp is dissolved in a chemical solvent, and pushed through an extruder to form fibres.

Depending on the length of the fibre chosen in production, the end product can vary in both thickness and texture. This makes Tencel an extremely versatile fabric that can be used to make anything from flowing maxi dresses to form-fitting activewear.

Why Choose Tencel Fabric?

According to its creator, Tencel provides a number of benefits. Let’s have a look.

1. It’s Sustainable

One of the main drawcards of Tencel is its sustainable production. Made from pulped wood sourced from sustainably-harvested forests, trademarked Tencel is produced using circular processes, in which 99% of the chemicals and solvents used to break down the wood pulp are recovered and recycled with minimal waste and very low emissions.

How does Tencel compare to other fabrics with regards to sustainability? Tencel is rated better for the environment than other similar fabrics, but not as sustainable as say, organic linen or recycled cotton.

With regards to its production, Tencel requires less energy and water to manufacture than cotton. It is also pure white when produced, so no bleaching is necessary, so remaining undyed is always an option. Should it need to be dyed, Tencel requires significantly less dye than cotton. As it is a plant-derived fibre, it is also fully biodegradable and compostable at its end of life.

In 2002, Tencel received the European Award for the Environment in the category ‘The Technology Award for Sustainable Development’ from the European Commission.

2. It’s Soft and Breathable

Extremely versatile, the way Tencel fabric looks and feels really depends on how its fibres are manufactured during the production stage. So, depending on what you want to do with the end product, it may feel gorgeously silky or similar to cotton. Either way, Tencel is soft to the touch, it drapes beautifully, and like natural fabrics such as cotton and linen, it is perfectly breathable.

3. It Resists Wrinkles

While there is much to be said for choosing garments made from pure linen or cotton, they’re not always easy to care for. Both linen and cotton can ‘crush’ easily, leading them to look wrinkled and overworn. They may also shrink during the wash and dry process, limiting their useability and durability.

Tencel, on the other hand, resists crushing so it wrinkles less. It also shrinks less, making it an easier fabric to care for, especially when travelling.

4. It Offers Long-lasting Colour

While colour can often fade from other fabrics, Tencel is known for its long-lasting colour vibrancy. So, not only do colours look more vibrant when the fabric is first manufactured, they remain that way long after, as they are less prone to fading after repeated washing.

5. It Wicks Away Moisture

From silky shirts and floaty skirts to the latest looks in denim and intimate apparel, Tencel is a fabric that can turn its hand to almost anything. And activewear? According to Lenzing, Tencel offers 50% more absorption than cotton, wicking away moisture before it can become bothersome. And, as it is more breathable and less susceptible to odorous bacteria growth than synthetics, it’s simply a great choice for activewear.