Viscose is seen as an alternative fabric which is sustainable. It is considered to be a better option to cotton and it's a popular fabric that is used by many brands because it is less expensive and more durable alternative to silk. Similar to Tencel and Modal it’s created from cellulose/ wood pulp. It’s made from Beech trees and eucalyptus or any fast growing, regenerative trees. Viscose is widely recognised as a cheaper alternative to silk as well as being more durable. Viscose however, is considered a very polluting process. Viscose is manufactured cheaply using energy, water and chemically-intensive processes that have devastating impacts on workers, local communities and the environment.
HOW IS VISCOSE FABRIC MADE?
The wood pulp that viscose is made from is manufactured by treating it with chemicals, which is then filtered and spun into a fine thread. Carbon disulphide, one of the chemicals used, is another toxic ingredient which has been linked to higher levels of health problems. Furthermore, dissolving-pulp wastes approximately 70% of the tree and is a chemically intensive manufacturing process. Moreover, 30% of rayon and viscose used in fashion is made from pulp sourced from endangered and ancient forests.
HOW DOES VISCOSE FABRIC AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Due to the growing fast fashion industry, a lot of the viscose that is available to purchase is produced using cheaper methods that do not require much water, energy or chemicals that have devastating impacts on the environment. Consequently, viscose was given ‘D’ and ‘E’ scores for sustainability in the Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibres. Viscose is said to be the third most commonly used textile fibre in the world and more than 70 million trees from Indonesia, Canada, and Brazil are logged every year in order to made Viscose. The wood pulp that viscose is made from is treated with chemicals. This is a highly polluting process and releases many toxic chemicals.
WHY CHOOSE VISCOSE FABRIC FOR YOUR COLLECTION?
Some of the best characteristics of Viscose are that it has a lightweight material which nicely drapes and a soft feel as well as being relatively inexpensive. It also blends well with other fibres like cotton and polyester. It is absorbent making it suitable for sportswear as well as being breathable and maintains its shape making it the best material for athletic wear. It is also lightweight making it suitable for dresses and women’s blouses. It also dyes well without fading.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING VISCOSE FABRIC?
Higher absorption: A viscose undershirt worn under a shirt will therefore absorb and trapsweat before it reaches the shirt.
Cheap Production: The cheap production is a big reason why many fast fashion giants useViscose, as it is cheap and fast to obtain the fabric.
Drapes well: This fabric holds more drape to them and follow your body lines and contours well.
Dyes well: It holds colours better than most other fabrics. As a result, it is safer to use for dyeing and also easier to wash without the fear of bleeding hues to other clothes.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF USING VISCOSE FABRIC?
Pills easy: After a couple of wears and washes the material pills up and bobbles up. This could be because of the cheap production value and can reflect bad on a brand especially if they price the item expensive.
Pollution Production: Viscose is extremely bad for the environment and pollutes as it is chemically treated which releases toxic chemicals in the air, putting the environment and lives at risk.
Deforestation: Unlike Tencel, Viscose is not sustainably farmed and widely recognised as the Palm Oil of the fashion industry. Viscose is currently being manufactured from the world's most endangered forests.