Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
INVISTA Unveils Renewable, Bio-Based LYCRA Material

INVISTA, one of the world’s largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, and owner of the LYCRA® brand, today introduces the first commercial offering of a bio-derived spandex — the stretchy fabric commonly found in swimwear, sportswear and dancewear.

The company says approximately 70 percent by weight of the new LYCRA® bio-derived spandex fiber comes from a renewable source made from dextrose, derived from corn. The use of a renewable feedstock in the making of this new LYCRA® bio-derived fiber results in a lower CO2 emissions footprint than spandex produced using traditional raw materials.

INVISTA, which also produces the COOLMAX®, CORDURA®, STAINMASTER®, ANTRON®, THERMOCOOL® and THERMOLITE® brands, says the new fiber will provide retailers and manufacturers of stretch fabrics a spandex fiber option that can impact the overall lifecycle analysis of the fabric and garment, and should not require re-engineering of fabrics, finishing processes or garment patterns.

Arnaud Tandonnet, INVISTA Apparel’s global sustainability director, said, “We are very aware that sustainability topics are becoming increasingly important in the textile and apparel value chain, with growing awareness and building education on the subject at the consumer, brand/retail and mill level. In our research facilities we have successfully produced the fiber and evaluated it in fabric applications. The production of commercial quantities is planned for the autumn/winter 2015 and spring/summer 2016 collections. We look forward to working with our customers throughout the value chain as we expand this new development.”

Development of the bio-based LYCRA should help the company advance the goals outlined in its sustainability program, Planet Agenda, which is focused on three main objectives:

  • Minimizing its environmental footprint by conserving resources, reducing emissions and eliminating waste at its manufacturing plants.
  • Offering competitive products that meet the needs of the apparel markets using fewer resources and to enhance the environmental performance of all fabrics.
  • Protecting the health and safety of our workers and communities and participating in local stewardship initiatives.

In other bio-based fabric news, a team at the University of Nebraska's Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design is busy at work developing textiles from corn husks. Yiqi Yang, a biochemical engineer at the University, says the husks have much better stretchability than any other cellulose fibers, making it easily blendable with other fibers such as polyester.

But bio-based does not necessarily equal more sustainable: The host of brands supporting Canopy’s Fashion Loved by Forest campaign — including Stella McCartney, Patagonia, H&M, Zara and EILEEN FISHER — are working to raise awareness of the prevalence of endangered forest materials in the production of viscose, a commonly used textile in the fashion industry. This week, the brands conducted the first meeting of their Fashion and Textile Leaders for Forest Conservation working group and outlined goals for implementing their commitments to eliminate endangered forest fibers from their clothing.


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