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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Unifi, Saint Haven, TreeToTextile Pioneering New Breed of Sustainable Textiles

Market demands continue to drive innovation in sustainable fabrics.

Unifi Introduces New Sustainable Offerings at 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

Unifi, Inc. — global textile solutions provider and one of the world’s leading innovators in manufacturing sustainable synthetic and recycled performance fibers — will launch three new product offerings next week at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019 (Jan 30-Feb 1). Focused on consumer demands for recycled products, Unifi is introducing TruFlexx™ sustainable, engineered stretch fiber made with REPREVE®; along with TruClean™ chemical-free anti-static fiber, and REPREVE nylon staple fiber.

“Our customers continue to ask for fibers and technologies that will not only help them meet their sustainability goals, but also provide superior performance,” said Jay Hertwig, group VP of global branded sales for Unifi. “At Unifi, we continue to develop solutions that help our customers make a difference.”

TruFlexx engineered stretch fiber is a breakthrough, 100 percent polyester, sustainable stretch fiber that eliminates the need for spandex. When spandex is knit into a fabric, it greatly limits recyclability of the fabric after its useful life. TruFlexx engineered stretch can replace spandex in the 5-10 percent content range for comfort-stretch knits, creating the possibility of a 100 percent closed-loop, recyclable polyester fabric. It is engineered for stretch and recovery, providing shape retention with less compression, while also improving moisture management.

Static is a significant issue for apparel and home textiles; Unifi’s next new fiber, TruClean anti-static fiber, is a chemical-free option that permanently inhibits static cling, repelling pet hair, lint and other small particles to keep fabrics looking newer. Applications for TruClean anti-static — another sustainable option available with REPREVE recycled fiber — include apparel, pet bedding, upholstery, curtains and automotive.

Unifi is also launching REPREVE nylon staple fiber — a new, more eco-friendly option for spun yarns. REPREVE recycled nylon staple fiber can be used to improve the hand feel and strength of fabrics, and add a natural heather effect or a cooling effect. Nylon is lightweight, durable, moisture-wicking and resists pilling and abrasion; desirable characteristics that can easily be blended into a more sustainable yarn using REPREVE Nylon staple fiber.

“We believe that true innovation starts in the fiber, and our goal is to provide even more options to inspire our customers to innovate at the fiber level to achieve sustainable, high-performing products,” said Richard Gerstein, Unifi’s EVP of global branded premium value-added products, and chief marketing and innovation officer. “True innovation happens when we collaborate with our brand and textile partners to create unique performance technologies that are embedded in the fiber, and we are excited to share these exciting new products at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.”

For more information, please visit Unifi at booth #54067-UL.

Saint Haven offers sustainably soft, breathable fabric for sensitive skin


Meanwhile, Saint Haven, a startup offering a luxurious line of sustainable essentials, recently launched. On a mission to ease the discomfort of her children's sensitive skin issues, Jacqueline Sacks — wife of former PayPal COO David Sacks — spent several years developing a brand-new, proprietary method for softening fabric, leading her to develop Saint Haven SoftTM, an incredibly soft and breathable non-toxic fabric — the brand offers blissfully soft clothing for women, babies, toddlers and children.

Jacqueline Sacks, a mother of three, was desperate for a solution that would ease her daughter's discomfort from eczema. She needed a soft, stretchy, breathable fabric that wouldn't irritate the skin further or soak up the salves she was using for treatment. Sacks tried unsuccessful DIY fixes before taking matters into her own hands — developing a proprietary fabric that is a result of years of research.

From consulting with everyone from fabric manufacturers to high-end lingerie and bed linen boutiques, Jacqueline spent years researching, experimenting and mixing her own fibers. After 19 prototypes, she arrived on what the brand hails as the softest, most breathable, non-toxic fabric. Working with ethical manufacturers throughout Portugal, Saint Haven developed a propriety method of softening fabric. The fabric is produced using modal, derived from sustainably grown beech trees, and both more breathable and less absorbent than cotton. The material is spun into an ultra-fine textile and then dipped in a non-toxic enzyme to achieve Saint Haven SoftTM. 

The collection is comprised of 13 initial styles of shirts, pants, dresses, and a robe that are simple, sustainable and functional.

Stora Enso partners with H&M, IKEA to industrialize TreeToTextile

Speaking of sustainable forest fibers, TreeToTextile AB is a joint venture between H&M group, Inter IKEA group and inventor and entrepreneur Lars Stigsson, launched in 2014 with the aim of developing new textile fibers in a sustainable way at attractive cost levels. Last month, TreeToTextile announced the next step in bringing its sustainable textile to market, with the addition of Stora Enso to the partnership — to help support the industrialization of TreeToTextile’s production process, the Finnish materials innovator will set up a demonstration plant at one of its Nordic facilities.

“We are excited to welcome our new partner, Stora Enso, and to share more of the innovative work that we are doing at TreeToTextile. With the help of our new partner, we will be entering an industrialization phase. The new fiber that we have developed is both sustainable and produced at a lower cost,” says Annica Karlsson, chairman of the board of TreeToTextile AB.

TreeToTextile’s process takes renewable forest raw material and regenerates the cellulose into a textile fiber. This production process uses less energy and chemicals, allowing for a much more sustainable and cost-efficient process compared to conventional technologies and fibers.

“It’s fantastic to see how the idea of utilizing forest resources for a more sustainable textile has developed from lab stage to a commercially viable product in just a few years,” Stigsson says.

The technology has been tested in a pilot line in Sweden and is now to be scaled up with the construction of a demonstration plant at one of Stora Enso’s Nordic facilities. Inter IKEA group and H&M group plan to use the fiber in their products, but the aim is that the entire industry should benefit from this sustainable fiber, since it can be used in conventional supply chains.

“We’re very happy to join this partnership and contribute to a more sustainable textile production. Stora Enso produces dissolving pulp for textiles based on renewable and fully traceable wood from sustainably managed forests. It will be exciting to participate in the industrialization of this technology at one of our facilities to meet growing demand,” says Markus Mannström, EVP of the Stora Enso Biomaterials division.

“We welcome Stora Enso to this partnership. For us, TreeToTextile is a long-term investment as we strongly believe it will contribute to offering our customers even more sustainably produced products at affordable prices,” says Erik Karlsson, Investment Manager for Sustainable Fashion at H&M group’s investment arm CO:LAB.

“With Stora Enso as a partner we now add industrial knowledge and deep competence within the cellulose field. This together with existing consumer and textile knowledge as well as an entrepreneurial spirit brings us one step closer to our goal of introducing a new sustainable low-cost fibre for the many people,” says Lena Julle, Category Area Manager Textiles at IKEA of Sweden.