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Innovative Textile Fibers That Regulate Body Temperature


Comfort is tantamount to today’s consumer and products need to fulfil a growing check list and that includes clothing that can maintain the right temperature for the wearer.

Historically fabrics such as cotton and silk have been cited as the go-to fibers to wear next to the skin. However, with concerns regarding the environment and sustainability new textiles have come into the fold to provide high performing alternatives that can wick away moisture as well as letting the skin breathe.

One sector that has devoted research and energy into fibers that keep you at the right temperature is the sportswear market. A prime example is Artic Cool, this brand has developed ActiveWick and HydroFreeze X technology within its polyester blends to wick away sweat, disperse moisture that in turn cools down the body. Global brand Adidas has adopted a similar approach by combining HEAT.RDY into its range of lightweight tops, shorts, leggings and team jerseys. Moisture wicking technology HEAT.RDY keeps the air flowing so that the wearer remains cool and dry and has been worked into stretchy knit fabrics made with recycled fabrics.

While the right fibers that have the ability to make the wearer feel dry and cool have been well established in the sports and activewear sectors, a consumer drive towards comfort has seen such fibers utilised in new markets including workwear, lounge wear, sleepwear and bedding. Consumers today are looking for the feel-good factor, along with style and ethics at a reasonable price point.

TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers have been adapted for several core markets from intimate apparel to outdoor wear. Derived from renewable wood sources, the TENCEL™ Lyocell cellulose fibers absorb moisture efficiently which helps facilitate the body’s natural thermal regulating mechanism. In April 2022, TENCEL™ launched its Tree Climate fabric collection, created in collaboration with industry expert and fabric innovator, David Parkes of Concept III. The collection illustrates how TENCEL™ fibers can be used in a great variety of base, mid, and outer layer fabrics for outdoor applications, impressively ticking all those moisture management, thermal regulating boxes whilst maintaining vital eco-credentials. Works are in progress to launch a second edition with a greater emphasis on plastic-free solutions for performance materials.

Image: Courtesy of TENCEL™

Brands across the globe have incorporated these natural, plastic-free thermal regulating fibers across several markets, for instance, outdoor clothing brand Icebreaker uses TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers in a blend with merino wool due to its moisture management properties allowing the fiber to remain 40% cooler than 100% wool, and wick away moisture 3 times as fast. The Cool-Lite™ blend of merino wool and TENCEL™ can be found in socks, daywear and underwear. 

Another brand example is The North Face and the use of FlashDry XD™ technology in certain collections that features TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, which is also specifically engineered to wick away more moisture than standard fabrics, contributing to better breathability and comfort. Meanwhile in the homeware market Marks & Spencer have a sell-out range of smart ‘Comfortably Cool” bedding that includes TENCEL™ Lyocell cellulose fibers in duvets, along with luxuriously soft TENCEL™ lyocell sheets and pillow cases. Elsewhere this sustainable fiber is being blended in intimate apparel, loungewear and everyday clothing.

Andreas Gürtler, Senior Manager Global Business Development Active Sportswear at Lenzing: comments: “Consumers are demanding more sustainable options, which has driven the industry to seek out alternative fiber choices, particularly ones that are derived from natural sources. The TENCEL™ brand’s family of lyocell and modal fibers are perfect examples to support this eco-movement.TENCEL™ branded cellulose fibers are derived from wood pulp and are certified compostable and biodegradable while maintaining a roster of performance elements such as thermal regulation and moisture management through their natural hydrophilic qualities.”

Whether it’s an intense winter hike or a good nights sleep the latest innovations in clothing and homeware textiles can provide a temperature controlled experience combined with the feel good factor that today’s consumer yearns for.

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