When we started Undercover, we went to visit various bed linen producers in Portugal. Each supplier presented us with their fabric collections. We were shown lots of cotton options: high thread count, low thread count, sateen weaves and percale weaves. And a few flax linen and polyester-cotton options.
I was already aware of cotton alternatives such as TENCEL™ and bamboo but it proved quite tricky to find a supplier who had experience working with these materials. Cotton is the textile industry’s gold standard, the material customers around the world inherently trust and feel safe with. Over the course of the 20th century, cotton has become the material of choice when it comes to bed linen. It’s a breathable and versatile material and is associated with natural purity.
Unfortunately, the environmental burden of cotton is substantial. It takes 2700 litres of water to grow the cotton needed for a single t-shirt and much of the world’s cotton is grown in regions with water shortages. Conventional cotton also requires heavy pesticide and insecticide use with a staggering 16% of world’s insecticides being used on cotton crops.
TENCEL™ offers a fantastic alternative. This super soft, luxurious yarn (also known as lyocell) is made from sustainably grown botanicals such as eucalyptus that produce a silky smooth, soft and lightweight texture. Fibres used in TENCEL™ are derived from trees that are harvested from controlled sources following stringent guidelines. Unlike cotton, these forests don’t need to be irrigated and they don’t require any pesticide or insecticide use.
TENCEL™ won the European Award for the Environment for its closed loop production which processes recycles water and reuses solvents at a recovery rate of more than 99%. It is durable, breathable, temperature regulating and anti-bacterial.
Using TENCEL™ in our bed linen has been one of the best decisions. The feedback we’ve received from customers has been outstanding, many say their bedding feels far more luxurious and comfortable than anything else they’ve ever tried. Treat yourself and the environment!