There are a lot of new fabrics on the market made from REGENERATED CELLULOSE FIBRES (RGFs). They all have different names so it's hard to know what you're buying & whether it's natural or synthetic. Here's a bit of background to help you navigate a rack full of RGFs like a pro.
Common RGFs include Cupro, Tencel, Modal, Lyocell, Viscose & Rayon. They're human made ie they don't occur naturally. However, they're not synthetic. Synthetics have a petroleum base whereas RGFs are derived from plants. They have a cellulose base such as wood pulp, cotton linter (a cotton waste product used in Cupro), bamboo, flax and hemp. But they differ from fully natural fabrics such as cotton because chemicals are used in their production. Not just to grow the plants, as you might find with cotton, for example, but to modify the fibres and make the fabric.
RGF's all use slightly different production processes. Tencel, Cupro, Modal and Lyocell are produced in a 'closed loop' which means the chemicals used can be extracted after and the water reused. In this way they have a lower environmental impact. On the other hand, Viscose and Rayon don't have the same 'closed loop' production, but the resulting fabric can often last longer and we know that production methods aren't the only measurement of environmental footprint.
Why we like them
1) See reduced enviro impact above
2) They have a great hand feel and drape making them uber flattering and a dream to wear. Being super soft and comfy our customers love them for travel and everyday wear.
3) They're vegan-friendly if this is important to you
4) They work with your body in the same way as the more natural fabrics ie they breathe and absorb moisture.
5) They can be hand/delicate machine washed & don't require dry cleaning.
6) Most don't need ironing if you hang them on coathangers on the clothes' line.
If you're not familiar with RGFs just look out for fabric that feels amazing - most likely it's an RGF.
The information here was adapted from an article posted by Sarah on September 28 2016 called Cupro, Tencel, Lyocell, Modal, Viscose, Rayon fabrics, what are they made of? Thanks Sarah!