Lenzing and NFW collaborate on sustainable leather alternative
Austrian fibre producer Lenzing Group has teamed up with US-based material science company Natural Fiber Welding Inc. (NFW) to offer Tencel-branded fibres as another backer option to the current all-natural fabric backing for NFW’s patented plant-based technology Mirum.
The Mirum x Tencel collaboration is currently being showcased for the first time in Milan during the international leather fair Lineapelle, which ends on Thursday, 23rd February. An example of the collaboration is the Allbirds ‘Plant Pacer’, which was released last fall, and is also being showcased at the fair. The shoe’s upper is made with Mirum lined with Tencel.
“The collaboration creates a uniquely sustainable alternative for leather applications as both Tencel fibres and Mirum are versatile enough to be used in multiple applications,” comment the companies in a press release.
Mirum is a 100 percent plastic-free, vegan material that contains only natural materials like rubber, plant oils and agricultural by-products such as rice hulls and citrus peels. Unlike other leather alternatives, it does not rely on PU (polyurethane) binders. Mirum is currently being used for luxury accessories, fashion, footwear, automotive and home goods.
Tencel Lyocell and Modal fibres are derived from sustainable wood sources and produced using environmentally responsible processes. The fibers are identifiable, verifiable, and traceable through Lenzing’s fibre identification technology that enables a physical identification of fibre origin at different stages of the production process. This enables full traceability of the fiber materials used during the production process, be it on a piece of fabric or a finished product, like garments or footwear.
NFW’s approach combines natural ingredients like bio-based charcoal, clay, cork powder, rice hulls, coconut fibres, recycled denim or seaweed to develop colour or to add visual interest. At the end of their life cycle, products made with Mirum can be recycled into new Mirum or ground up and returned to the earth, while Tencel fibres are compostable and biodegradable, enabling complete circularity of finished products.
“At NFW, we believe that plant matter is the only material that can scale to replace plastic. Since its inception, Mirum has been engineered to benefit our planet. By adding fabrics made of Tencel to Mirum, we can enhance material tranparency and traceability, while guaranteeing comfort and great hand feel on the skin,” said Oihana Elizalde, vice president and general manager of Mirum at NFW.
“Tencel fibres used as backer not only increase the level of transparency and traceability of Mirum, but also enhance comfort – and with a very low carbon footprint. We are confident that the versatile material will be loved by supply chain partners and brands across footwear, fashion apparel, accessories, furniture and even automotive industries,” said Birgit Schnetzlinger, dead of business development functional wear and footwear, global textiles business at Lenzing AG.