INVISTA, Lenzing Strive to Banish the Era of Shape-Losing Stretch Denim

INVISTA and Lenzing are working together to bring improved aesthetic performance to stretch fabrics. By combining INVISTA's patented LYCRA dualFX fabric technology with LENZING's TENCEL fiber, the two companies are delivering a new solution to the industry: cellulosic denim fabrics with significantly improved shape retention.

According to Jean Hegedus, INVISTA's Denim Business Director, about a year ago INVISTA began hearing about the challenges its mill customers were facing in developing stretch cellulosic fabrics. The company initiated a study to identify the underlying mechanisms of these issues and determine how to improve them. INVISTA and Lenzing are presenting the results of the study at a seminar at the Kingpins Denim show on January 22.

"Given the growing popularity of both LYCRA fiber and TENCEL fiber in the denim market, it was only natural that people wanted to combine them to come up with really amazing fabrics," Hegedus said. "However, as mills began experimenting they encountered issues such as growth, fabrics not keeping their shape, and fabric puckering due to seam slippage."

To address these issues INVISTA looked to its LYCRA dualFX fabric technology, which combines two stretch fibers – LYCRA fiber and LYCRA T400 fiber – into a single yarn. INVISTA ran trials pairing this technology with blends of cotton and TENCEL fiber. The trials showed significant improvement in fabric recovery and slippage to the point where the fabric performance met or exceeded INVISTA's and the industry's standards.

From there, INVISTA and Lenzing decided to work together to promote these fabrics in the marketplace. Lenzing management says it is pleased to work with INVISTA to help customers develop commercial fabrics with strong marketing attributes. Both companies have global sales, marketing and technical teams supporting the developments and they will provide joint promotional materials as well as supply chain support and marketing information.

"This initiative represents two globally innovative fiber companies working together to provide the denim market with fabrics that meet the performance needs of modern consumers," says Michael Kininmonth, Senior Project Manager of Denim at Lenzing Fibres Inc. "Superior comfort with stretch and long-lasting recovery are set to become the next core product in women's wear."

"LYCRA dualFX fabrics bring a whole new standard of performance to denim so it was only natural to extend that technology to blends with TENCEL fiber," said Hegedus. "We are excited to work together with Lenzing and we think both companies can bring significant value to the marketplace."

Recently, TENCEL fiber has been reinvented by denim designers as a complement to today's fashion trends. Jeans with TENCEL fiber are attractive, durable, and offer enhanced comfort. The fiber's smooth surface and moisture transfer benefits turn jeans into articles of clothing that enhance physical wellbeing while still being on trend.

The revival of TENCEL fiber in denim is also due in part to the environmental factor. Blending TENCEL into denim fabric results in a significant improvement for the environment because it is made from wood grown in sustainably managed forests. The production process for TENCEL fiber is based on a closed loop solvent spinning process and represents the greatest environmental achievement in cellulose fiber technology.

INVISTA introduced its LYCRA dualFX fabric technology to the market about two years ago. Initial applications were with cotton, where it brought improved shape retention to denim fabrics, especially to super stretch styles that were difficult to control using standard corespun yarns. Now those same benefits are being realized in fabrics with TENCEL, offering a whole new range of development possibilities for the industry.
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