At a recent global textlile trade show, Lenzing and The Woolmark Company signed a Cooperation Agreement and presented the partnership between the lyocell fiber TENCEL and Merino wool. The perfect fiber duo introduces a new dimension to high-end textiles and active wear.
Merino wool has been renowned as a fiber material for a long time and has always been used as a raw material in clothing and in home textiles. In the high-end segment, Merino wool is a highly desirable fiber. The end result can be extremely fine and glossy. TENCEL is ideal as a blending partner for Merino wool. The properties of moisture management and a smooth fiber surface are enriching factors when combined with Merino wool.
International brands have been successfully using the fiber duo in their collections. The blend is particularly popular among customers in Europe and the US. In internal retail analysis, it is striking that the TENCEL/Merino wool blend is often used in knitwear.
The blend is used predominantly in the active wear segment, according to Robert van de Kerkhof, CCO Lenzing. “Our activities will focus on woven fabrics with high-quality fabrics for formal suits, clothes and shirts. We are operating with wool blends in a high-end, segment with high margins and are interested in expanding this business,” he explains.
The best of two worlds TENCEL is of botanic origin. Merino wool is a protein fiber. The fibers unite the best of two worlds. TENCEL stands for a silky smooth drape and the blend with Merino wool demonstrates that the luxurious flow of the fabrics can create new and fashionable silhouettes
Thermal regulation is, however, one of the most interesting features of the blend. Both fibers absorb moisture vapour very well and create a pleasant micro climate on the skin. “It is also interesting that Merino wool becomes even more usable for summer with TENCEL and TENCEL becomes more suitable for winter as a result of blending with Merino wool,” Robert van de Kerkhof comments. “This means that the blend can be used whatever the season is.”
Business targets of the cooperation
The long term goal is to expand the high-end Merino wool market with TENCEL/Merino wool blends by 2020 and firmly establish this elegant blend in global collections. The product developments will be backed up with In-house developments and co-operation with external trend experts, especially for shirting are being intensified to inspire fabric manufacturers in Asia. Globally, the focus is on flat knits and circular knits for women’s outerwear, and for men’s and children outerwear.