by Rogier Ducloo June 08, 2018
Forget about the environment for a moment. Ignore the working conditions and compensation levels of those that manufacture the t-shirts. Those things are important but when you wear a t-shirt day in and day out, first and foremost it must be comfortable.
Recycled polyester doesn’t feel or perform much different than virgin polyester. Organic cotton, in terms of touch and comfort, is pretty much the same as conventional cotton. The finishing can make our shirt feel a bit better.
It is the 3rd component in an Allmade garment that makes it stand out from everything else. That 3rd component in the blend is TENCEL™ Modal. We used it as an alternative to the viscose rayon found in the majority of tri-blends.
TENCEL™ Modal has been around for 50 some years. It’s nothing new. Yet, it has only recently been gaining popularity in the US. It is the next generation of cellulosic fibers. The first, viscose also known as rayon, has been around for over 100 years. The 3rd generation is lyocell, a relative youngster having been around for only about 25 years. Each of these generations of cellulosic fibers have very different wearing characteristics.
Rayon/viscose, being the first of its kind, was developed to mimic silk, a popular but relatively rare and very expensive fiber at the time. It doesn’t do well in the laundry. Without mercerizing it, it cannot be washed in a laundry machine at home. Most applications require dry cleaning. It doesn’t hold it’s shape very well but it adds drape, comfort, and wicks moisture much better than cotton which is why it is commonly used in tri-blend garments.
Lyocell has only been around for 25 years. It the drapiest of them all and the strongest. It also has greater bacterial resistance than the other 2 options. It’s used more in woven than in knitted fabrics and is commonly blended with polyester for use in work wear. Increasingly it is also used in women’s blouses and jeans. It is not nearly as soft as TENCEL™ Modal.
TENCEL™ Modal is the softest man-made cellulosic fiber. Its more scientific characteristics are described as high tenacity and high wet modulus. What that means is that it is stronger and has better water management. It is ideal for direct-to-skin applications.
MeUndies and others have been making a splash on social media touting its softness and comfort for underwear. MeUndies calls it “the most amazing fabric you've ever experienced. The results have been downright dreamy.”
Underwear and women’s intimates is where it is used the most. It’s feathersoft and absorbs and wicks moisture away from the body really well. It is colorfast and can be washed many times without shrinking.
You wear a t-shirt direct-to-skin. If you’re like most, you wear it everyday. Why not wear the softest possible shirt you can find? Out of all the ways we make it better, that’s the one your body will appreciate the most.