What is it?
Also known as ‘rayon’ in the United States, viscose began its journey as a type of artificial silk in the 19th century before the term rayon was first used in 1924. In fact, rayon is a synonym of viscose in the USA and its name is derived from the manufacture of the fabric itself since a ‘viscous’ liquid is used in order to create both rayon and cellophane. However, in England the term ‘viscose’ is generally given to a manufactured fibre created from cellulose using the viscose process and since it is neither 100% natural like cotton or 100% synthetic like polyester, the fibre falls in between and is known as semi-synthetic.
What is cellulose?
A fibre is considered manufactured when it is created from cellulose or protein. Cellulose itself is a carbohydrate and is actually a major component in the cell walls of a plant cell. Viscose is made from wood pulp which makes it known as a cellulosic fibre, similar to cotton. On the other hand, synthetic fibres do not contain a naturally occurring cellulose and are deemed 100% manmade. With this said, viscose cannot be considered a natural fibre because processing is necessary in order to complete the finished product so it’s official title is as a ‘regenerated cellulose’.
Since viscose is a material formed from renewable plants, many cite it as being an environmentally friendly and sustainable fibre. Having said that, when cellulose is gathered it is chemically treated in order to help it stand against regular wear and tear meaning that the finished fibre is both derived from a natural and sustainable source but also treated with chemicals. Of course, the argument here is that viscose is overall a more sustainable fibre than alternatives like polyester, which is completely man made.
Viscose is a material that comes with a range of different attributes. For example, it is very breathable because the fibres do not trap body heat and drapes beautifully. In addition to this, the cost of the textile is extremely inexpensive which makes it a fantastic fibre to craft clothing from.
The battle for sustainability within the fashion industry is a tough one as sometimes hard decision must be made. In order to support this aim it is important to make ethical fashion choices and that is something that we encourage here at 2forjoy. After all, our use of viscose fibres within our garments not only makes the clothing affordable, it also allows us to create high quality attire that will meet all the characteristics that the slow fashion industry is known for. For more information, contact 2forjoy today.