#WhatToWear: Tencel is Trending

What is Tencel? Is it the same as Lyocell, and where does it come from? I will try to give you some insights into this great material – a favorite of many of us eco-fashion girls.

By Johanne Stenstrup

Jazmin Quaymor / Unsplash.com . 

Jazmin Quaymor / Unsplash.com

I am, first of all, very happy with how it feels on the body, how it’s both warm and cool at the same time. This is one of the great things about Tencel, but here are some more details to get you interested:

– Dries quickly
– Is gentler on the skin than cotton
– Is biodegradable because it’s derived from trees
– Is recyclable

– Is of botanic origin and produces in a closed loop system which means no water or air pollution
– Keeps colour way better than cotton

Jazmin Quaymor / Unsplash.com . 

Jazmin Quaymor / Unsplash.com

So what is Tencel?

Lyocell and Tencel are essentially the same thing, which may be nice to know when you’re shopping. The name Tencel is only allowed to use when referring to fiber that comes from the European factory Lenzing, and they are also the ones who are furthest along in their environmentally-safe production methods. Tencel is made from wood. The wood is made into a wood pulp, which is then taken through a chemical solvent that extracts the cellulose fibers from the wood's. This is chemically spun into thin fibers, which can then be used for fabrics.

It’s sort of an abstract process, but I recommend this youtube video for the nerdy ones out there.

Is it sustainable?

What makes tencel good, is two things: first is that the wood used is often from more sustainable sources, like fast-growing trees, e.g. eucalyptus. Second is the closed loop system. Lenzing, who produce the most tencel, say that they recycle 99% of all water and chemicals.

Tamara Bellis / Unsplash.com . 

Tamara Bellis / Unsplash.com

Is it better for the skin?

Even though some pretty heavy chemicals are used in the solvent, they are all gone before the fabric reaches your skin.

Some say that tencel has antibacterial qualities and is healthier for your skin, but I personally have no solid proof to back this statement.

What I can say, however, is that tencel does not bleed colour. Ever tried putting on a dark pair of jeans and having it colour your butt? Or your black socks get wet and your toes turn dark? Tencel keeps the colour much longer, which also adds to it’s durability as a material.

Tencel is my new favorite material, and I think it should be yours as well. It moves beautifully, it feels great on the skin and it’s much better for the environment that it’s cousins - viscose and rayon.

Starch Slides — Shoes of Up-Cycled Men's Shirts for The Girl On the Go

NYC-based Starch Slides is a unique footwear brand that has mastered crafting the perfect slide-on shoe, whereas proudly pairing the sustainability element of up-cycling men’s shirts with vegan leather. At Starch Slides, individuality is the key — no other pair for ‘the girl on the go’ looks the same, ever. Savant talks shoes and sustainability with its founder Shannon Crowley.

Starch Slides 2016. 

Starch Slides 2016. 

Particularly considering the environmental impact, what informed the creation of Starch Slides?

As I come from a retail buying background, I wanted to bring a brand to life that was eco-friendly without looking entirely “granola”. I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea of up-cycling men’s shirts as shoes, and I sketched [my vision] and took it from there. 

What's your personal relationship with sustainability? How much does it reflect in your brand?

Starch Slides is very much my personal style — they are cool, effortless, comfortable and original. I have always been aware of green living, watching my waste and hoping others do the same. I think even doing little things make a huge difference over time, and not being sustainable is irresponsible at this point. Little things, like skipping the plastic produce bag when buying oranges, using a refillable water bottle, and washing and reusing plastic Tupperwares when ordering take-out can make a big difference. 

"I have thought I dislike many styles of shoes, then I see a woman rocking them and looking totally cool. This has taught me not to judge."

Your design philosophy is to create a unique, one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that no one else has. Describe the woman who starts her morning routine wearing Starch Slides…

The Starch Slides girl is a girl of any age — our audience ranges from 17 to 60. The prints of a men’s button-up shirt resonates with all ages, as the shirts are so classic. A big trend has been for mothers and daughters to each get a pair (different styles, of course), the style of slides is so simple that the shoe really changes personality based on the shirt we used to make it. They are for the girl on the go — simply slip them on and run out. Also, they come in a reusable backpack and take up little room in a suitcase, so they are a perfect travel shoe. I bring at least 4 pairs to every vacation I take. 

Starch Slides 2016.

Starch Slides 2016.

Could you elaborate on the concept of 'vegan' leather? 

Vegan leather is made of polyurethane — it is durable, playable and breathable. We use vegan leather because we want to have as small of a carbon footprint as we can possibly get. We bind the fabric from the shirt to vegan leather so your foot stays secure and the slide is very durable. Trust me, I am bashing through the streets of NYC and I have yet to wear through a pair, and I am not easy on shoes. 

"Little things, like skipping the plastic produce bag when buying oranges, using a refillable water bottle, and washing and reusing plastic Tupperwares when ordering take-out can make a big difference."

What's your opinion on the fashion and footwear industry exposing itself to a greater degree of transparency? Is there still a long way to go to acting completely green?

I think that consumers are doing a great job of asking questions, this is leading brands to expose the truth behind the process of their factories. I do think many brands are taking strides where they can to become green, which is a wonderful thing to see. We have a long way to go, but I think we will get there in time. 

What do you hate the most about the mass production of shoes? What makes creating a sustainable shoe difficult?

I hate the cheap prices of mass produced shoes. It’s hard to work so hard to make sure your shoes all have their own, unique personality, then walk in a store and see shoes on sale for less than lunch. People need to continue to remind themselves, “who is getting paid?”, when they see prices that are too cheap to believe. 

What's the type of shoe you hate to see or wear? What makes a shoe beautiful?

I have thought I dislike many styles of shoes, then I see a woman rocking them and looking totally cool. This has taught me not to judge. I definitely have my own style, it is rocker/boho. When I am not in slides I am in sneakers or motorcycle boots. I live in New York City and always need to be in outfits that transition from day to night, [that are] easy and understated. So Starch Slides are the perfect shoe choice for this girl on the go. 

http://www.starchslides.com

Beauty Is Beauty Is Beauty Is...The Natural You: Estonian Eco Cosmetics By Sõsar

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

Lately, applying my all-natural face moisturiser first thing in the morning has become like a second nature - it leaves my skin firm and gives it an immediate healthy glow. I couldn’t think of any fresher way of starting the day’s beauty routine. In Northern Europe, the appreciation of natural beauty is nothing unusual: it has gradually become sort of a trademark for us, which translates into our modern-day beauty industry, too. Natural cosmetics, consisting of pure ingredients derived from our surrounding biosphere, are nowadays widely known as bio-organic or eco-friendly cosmetics. As a cherry on top, these fuss-free superheroes often boast environmentally friendly packaging, too. 

Sacred Forest Peat Mask by Sõsar

Sacred Forest Peat Mask by Sõsar

To further understand the buzz around fuss-free, bio-active cosmetics, we talked the essence of beauty with Piret from the Estonian cosmetics brand Sõsar (‘Sister’). Whilst creating their products from all-sustainable resources combining modern-day science with local folk medicine, Sõsar not only serves organic skincare products for women, but has introduced an entire range for everyday use for the modern, global man. Perhaps that rather unusual stunt reveals why we have fallen utterly in love with their all-natural range…

What is beauty? 

Beauty is something very effortless that exudes from within. It reflects in our entity, the way we speak, [in our] physical stance and attitude towards ourselves and one another. Beauty is healthy, not artificial. It’s inside all of us already. [It’s] like a diamond which needs polishing to become a rare brilliant. The question is, will you polish your diamond or cover it with paint? 

"I believe that we all are already beautiful the moment we wake up. It’s a whole different question, whether we have the ability to see that beauty."

What inspired you to launch Sõsar?

Sõsar was born out of a personal need for cosmetics which would highlight natural beauty without damaging our skin and body with synthetic preservatives or colourants. I consider myself to be a bon vivant when it comes to cosmetics and skincare. I value the highest quality, the purest and the most effective natural products that help you stay youthful and glowing. [The idea] came to me once I realised that what is considered ‘best’ isn’t always the most expensive or dressed in the fanciest packaging. I quickly came to the conclusion that everything depends on what’s on the inside - the rest is often just a beautiful facade. As I soon found out there were others who shared my values and believed in the power of nature — thus Sõsar was born. 

Piret Laasik, founder of the Estonian eco beauty brand Sõsar

Piret Laasik, founder of the Estonian eco beauty brand Sõsar

Aside from the obvious, why are natural ingredients better for our skin’s health?

Everything in nature is already in perfect balance — we don’t need to extract, add or remove any components. The compote of fabricated substances [that stand at the other end of beauty industry] might not even give the desired results, but will rather create an addiction to the products. We should get to know nature better and learn how to benefit from it, rather than fear it. Natural products help to create a balance in our organism. We don’t need to apply seven layers of make-up or moisturise our skin on a daily basis, because our body and skin have the natural ability to be healthy and glowing if we knowingly support that. I believe that we all are already beautiful when we wake up. It’s a whole different question, whether we have the ability to see that beauty. 

"Beauty is healthy, not artificial. It’s inside all of us already. Like a diamond which needs polishing to become a rare brilliant. The question is, will you polish your diamond or cover it with paint?"

Besides women’s cosmetics, Sõsar also offers products for the modern man. What is important to keep in mind when creating a beauty product for men? 

What is most interesting about men’s products is that men need to be encouraged to use said products, especially for skincare. [They should keep in mind that] it doesn’t make a man less manly. In fact, [it is not a myth] that we, women, like men who are naturally handsome and take care of themselves. After all, men have the same kind of skin problems as women do. Healthy skin will give men confidence in building their career, and they will also benefit from that confidence in social situations…in their private lives. What’s great about natural products is that they are actually suitable for both men and women. 

Wild Man product range by Sõsar

Wild Man product range by Sõsar

If Sõsar was a character in an upcoming movie, what would she look like? How would she take care of her skin?

Sõsar would be a character called ‘Natural Beauty’, who makes heads turn in awe as she enters the room. It’s not about the perfect brow or having the perfect hair. Her beauty reflects in who she is, her gaze, and how she walks. She’s mindful that knowing her worth, getting a good night’s sleep and weekly beauty rituals are the key to beauty and youthfulness. And she doesn’t take no for an answer. Fresh air, good quality food and an active lifestyle are an essential part of her life. 

If you’re as obsessed with natural beauty as we are, go check out Sõsar’s webpage at www.sosar.eu where you purchase their skincare products. (PS! They ship all over the EU!)