Invista, is getting ready for the specialized underwear and swimwear trade show Paris Mode City to held in Paris from 5-7 July 2014. Within this show the international fiber and fabric specialist will present the first garments made with its newest Lycra bio-derived spandex fiber from a 70% renewable source, made from dextrose derived from corn, also see here.
Arnaud Tandonnet, global apparel sustainability director, Invista Apparel, explained how the group is promoting sustainable issues and fibers. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

How much is Invista involved in sustainable initiatives?
Since 2008, Invista has developed a platform named Planet Agenda regrouping its strategies and efforts regarding sustainability. It is focused on three main objectives: manufacturing excellence, product sustainability and corporate responsibility.
In 2012, Invista also joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an association gathering together about 180 companies including top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Timberland and Patagonia. Aim of the association is to develop the HIGG Index in order to better quantify the environmental impact of all steps in the production of garments and help to preserve resources and save energy within the textile and apparel segments.
Invista has also recently launched some sustainable fibers such as Coolmax Ecomade, obtained employing 97% of recycled resources, Lycra Easy Set, a fiber which requires lower temperatures in order to be stabilized during the fabric heat setting process, and, most recently, our revolutionary Lycra bio-derived spandex fiber. Approximately 70% by weight of this new fiber comes from a renewable source made from dextrose derived from corn.

Why do you consider it so revolutionary?
Because it is today the only Spandex fiber that is not produced with raw materials coming from the petroleum industry. It is now made with 70% substances that are not petroleum-based. Moreover, we are also continuing our research in order to increase this environmentally-friendly ratio.

What advantages and disadvantages characterize this fiber compared to the usual stretch fibers?
It is not different from other Lycra fibers in performance and appearance. The only difference is that with the use of a renewable feedstock, this bio-derived Lycra fiber results in a lower CO2 emissions footprint than other spandex fibers. At present it can be used in most different segments apart from swimwear which would require addition of specific chlorine resistance additives. Though in the future it can also be completed by adding this element and so it can be practically used in every segment.

Which apparel market segments are showing greater interest in sustainable topics and especially in this fiber?
The most interested markets in our new Bio-derived Lycra fiber are actually the denim and activewear segments.

Will it be more expensive than other fibers?
Right now the raw material is more expensive because volumes are quite low. Invista will position it at the same level than other Lycra Specialty Fibers. And in any case the future volume and, therefore the price, will depend upon the market’s reaction.

When will we see the first products made with this fiber?
This fiber will debut at Paris Mode City to be held in Paris on 5-7 July 2014, specialized swimwear and intimate apparel trade show in July 2014. Though the first collections employing this fiber will be available by f/w 2015/2016 and more widely by s/s 2016. The first products likely to use it will be mostly activewear, denim and somewhat underwear (especially corsetry and lightweight underwear).