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Whether you've been with us for a while or are a sustainable brief newcomer, it's no secret that TENCEL™ modal is a hit at Stripe & Stare. Super-soft, stylish, and long-lasting, it makes every wear luxurious – so much so that we recently crowned TENCEL™ modal our winner for the best fabric for underwear.

However, whilst TENCEL™ is considered more environmentally friendly than alternative fabrics such as cotton and polyester, there are many controversies surrounding its level of sustainability. At Stripe & Stare, we believe that we all share a responsibility for the wellbeing of our planet – and knowing where our fabrics come from and how it's made plays a huge part in our mission to produce sustainable underwear for the future. Below, we've covered the in's and out's of TENCEL™ modal's sustainability. From the truth about TENCEL™ modal's biodegradability to its impact on the planet, read on!

Table of contents

  1. So, what is TENCEL™ modal?
  2. Is all modal fabric sustainable?
  3. How is TENCEL™ modal made?
  4. How does TENCEL™ modal affect the environment?
  5. Is all modal eco-friendly?
  6. Is TENCEL™ modal sustainable?
  7. Is all modal sustainable?
  8. Is modal fully biodegradable? 
  9. Sustainability at Stripe & Stare

So, what is TENCEL™ modal?

TENCEL™ modal is a bio-based fabric created from cellulose; or, in more familiar terms, trees. It is very similar to viscose; however, it is considered more environmentally friendly due to the process used to obtain and create it. Our blog, 'What is TENCEL™ modal?' covers everything you need to know about what TENCEL™ modal is made of, its distinctive properties, and why it's a better alternative to cotton. 


How is TENCEL™ modal made?

TENCEL™ modal is made via the process of spinning beech tree cellulose. After being collected, the cellulose is harvested and transformed into wood pulp. Then, the wood pulp is mixed with a solvent, transformed into threads, and dried and spun to create fabric.


How does TENCEL™ modal affect the environment?

TENCEL™ modal is made from trees, so it's important that people are aware of the environmental impact of sourcing the collected material and transforming it into fibres. 


Sourcing TENCEL™ modal

One of the main environmental concerns regarding TENCEL™ modal's production is tree destruction, as beech trees must be destroyed to collect their fibres. However, Lenzing AG only sources its material from unprotected forests; and for every destroyed tree, another one is replanted. The beech tree forests are also grown naturally, meaning no chemicals or fertilisers are dispersed into the environment.

Additionally, 100% of the material collected from the trees is converted into cellulose and other bio-based products, so no energy or material is wasted throughout the entire production process. Sustainability is extremely important to us at Stripe & Stare, which is why we also like to do our bit. For every order placed with us, we plant a tree in Madagascar – so you can shop our sustainable briefs guilt-free!


The production process

Compared to alternative fabrics, the production of TENCEL™ modal is much more eco-friendly. For instance, TENCEL™ modal uses 95% less water to produce in comparison to cotton, and 100% of the water used in the production process is reused. Additionally, the solvent used to transform and spin the beech tree cellulose into fabric is reused at a recovery rate of more than 99%, so consumers can be confident that buying TENCEL™ modal does not have a negative environmental impact. 


Is all modal eco-friendly?

In general, modal fabric is more environmentally friendly than its alternatives. However, the eco-friendliness of the modal in question largely depends on the manufacturer and their processes. For instance, the process used to create modal fabric uses harmful chemicals, which can contribute to air pollution and other issues if it makes its way into the environment. Additionally, there is no guarantee that all manufacturers source their modal from renewable forests, making forest destruction a potential risk.  

At Stripe & Stare, we choose TENCEL™ modal as Lenzing AG is 100% transparent about their production process, including where they obtain the beach tree materials used to create fabric. 


Is TENCEL™ modal sustainable?

TENCEL™ modal is one of the most sustainable fibres available. It is harvested from certified wood sources, which are naturally developed with little water consumption. It is also biodegradable and compostable, allowing the material to revert to nature fully. Due to its sustainability, TENCEL™ modal has received recognition from several environmental bodies, including the EU EcoLabel and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It has also earned the European Award for the environment due to its closed-loop production process! 


Is all modal fabric sustainable?

Over recent years, generic modal fabric has grown in popularity due to its favorable characteristics, and various manufacturers now produce it. However, this also means that modal's sustainability can differ depending on the manufacturer in question and their production process. At Stripe & Stare, we only use TENCEL™ modal, which is sourced from the Austrian company Lenzing AG. We source our modal from them as they are dedicated to sustainability and are 100% transparent about their production process.


Is modal fully biodegradable?

TENCEL™ modal fibres are verified as biodegradable: Once you're finished with it, you can pop it in your compost bin or garden soil, allowing it to revert to nature fully. However, it's important to remember to cut off any elastane or other fabrics first. At Stripe & Stare, 95% of our products are made using TENCEL™ modal, so you can shop our collections without worrying about adverse environmental impacts. 

We are also extremely proud to offer our B-Edit collection, which is filled with sustainable underwear options which biodegrade completely within 180 days. We've combined new technologies with materials collected from wood, seaweed and Roica elastane to create what we believe is a world-first fully biodegradable knicker!


Sustainability at Stripe & Stare

At Stripe & Stare, sustainability is at the heart of all our products, whether that be our underwear, clothing, or nightwear. In the face of fast fashion and its detrimental environmental impact, we strive to do better – and working with transparent, sustainable businesses is paramount to our plan. Plant-based materials are naturally considered sustainable. However, not all manufacturers source their modal from renewable forests, and many are not transparent about their use of harmful chemicals.

From tree to brief, TENCEL™ modal allows us to create sustainable underwear that is as charming and comfortable as stylish and long-lasting. If you're looking to swap sustainable knickers, be sure to shop our essentials collection! From must-have knicker boxes to everyday bras and jogger sets, this collection provides all the building blocks you need to start your journey to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.