Tencel fabric and why it matters
When I first began to develop Rêve, I started by cutting up 10-year-old 100% cotton sheets. They were soft and buttery and I couldn't imagine a better material. Once I ran out of sheets, I started ordering cotton by the yard. I started with organic cotton; I wanted the Rêve to be as pure and holistic as possible so I wanted to use the highest quality organic components.
I must have ordered from 20 different suppliers and retailers, and every sample felt like sandpaper in comparison to my old sheets. I tried washing them, soaking them in baking soda, hot water, cold water; nothing helped. I ordered another round of non-organic cotton samples, thinking maybe my goals of buttery softness and organic wellness were at odds. The new samples were a little better but again, not like the old sheets. This wasn't what I wanted.
I started to do some deeper research on fabrics, and what I found surprised me. organic cotton was not the pinnacle of quality and eco-responsibility that I had been led to believe. While it had plenty of benefits over synthetic fabrics, cotton could be pretty hard on the environment; requiring lots of land, water, and other resources to produce. In fact, one pair of jeans can take 20,000 gallons of water to produce. And what I learned about the pesticides and the pollution of regular cotton set me against that option for good. The damage to the surrounding populations and the Earth just wasn't worth it.
Petrochemcial-based synthetic fabrics, like microfleece or poly were never an option. Extracted from fossil fuels, they don't breathe, they shed toxic mircrofibers and are not biodegradable. Chemical soup never made for sweet dreams.
I switched to protoyping with bamboo, recognizing it as a popular "eco-friendly" choice. And it can be...except I also learned there is are bamboo trojan horse called viscose or rayon which are semi-synthetic fibers that pollute the environment and do not have any of the wellness benefits of the bamboo plant. The bamboo industry had some trouble spots and I wasn't sure how to reliably get the pure product in a woven format.
As I continued to search and attend fabric shows, I discovered Tencel Lyocell. Tencel is a next-generation fabric generated from eucalyptus trees in a closed loop process which means there there is virtually no waste or harm to the environment. It is the most eco-sustainable fabric available. In addition, it had the following benefits:
- Absolutely the softest most luxurious fabric; softer than cotton, it is like washed silk
- Durable; wrinkle resistant and much stronger than cotton
- Moisture wicking and 70% more breathable than cotton. It keeps you cool at night, like the cool side of the pillow on every side!
- Naturally antibacterial and hypo-allergic. Great for sensitive skin!
To compare the water consumption, Tencel requires 1/1000 the amount of water of cotton; production of this fabric works in harmony with our environment.
If Tencel has a drawback, it's this: it's expensive. You can't order cheap Tencel from China or anywhere. It's carefully produced by the Tencel brand in Austria. Here are Rêve, we import it from a trusted partner in Canada to our US production facilities and it costs many multiples of the price of cotton or bamboo. So why do we do it? Simple: it's the best.
Try Rêve and we think you will agree; details matter.