Part 4: How an eco-fiber becomes a luxurious blouse fabric - a Swiss makeover story.
September 21, 2017
Switzerland is synonymous with quality, and it's the country's sense of precision (think Swiss watches, knives) that inspired the Citizen's Mark aesthetic when I was working there as a UN policy professional. So it seems fitting that we came back to Switzerland to give our Austrian eco-fiber a precise, high-quality makeover to create our Better Than Silk blouse fabric.
We had the perfect sustainable, high-performance fiber in our hands: Lenzing Tencel made of 100% tree fiber sustainably forested in Austria. And we were back to our every day challenge: how do we make ethical fashion look boardroom-worthy?
Our goal: a Better Than Silk blouse that looks like silk, feels like silk, is machine washable, and unlike many "easy-care" tops out there that are made of polyester or acetate - luxurious and sustainable.
We had to look for a weaver that could turn Lenzing Tencel into this luxurious blouse fabric that surely should already exist. It involved explaining to a lot of industry suppliers what we're doing and why. Hi. We're a small fashion brand. We want ethical fashion look luxurious and be practical. Here's a fiber we both know. Can you make it look nice?
No, no, no, and no. We heard this a lot.
Until one day, back in Switzerland, we heard a "Maybe. Let's try."
We worked with our Swiss weaving partner to get just the right density, weight, and finishing to create our Better Than Silk blouse. It's a long process - fiber has to get spun into yarn, woven into fabric at a certain weight and density, and given a specific finish for durability, elegance, and washability. Every single element has to be just right.
Months later, we nailed it.
Morten, our unbearably fussy Danish Creative Director was the first to get it in the mail. I asked over whatsapp, "What score would you give it?"