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Mirum and Tencel as alternative leather

Enhancing material transparency and traceability while guaranteeing comfort.

17th July 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Peoria, IL, USA

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Lenzing has this year teamed up with Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), based in Peoria, Illinois, to offer Tencel branded fibres as a backer option for NFW’s patented plant-based Mirum alternative leather.

Mirum is made from natural rubber, plant and mineral pigments, plant-based oils and waxes, and an all-natural fabric backing. Each Mirum recipe is unique, but the commitment to using only natural ingredients is unchanging. Instead of relying on PU binders, a characteristic of most leather alternatives, Mirum uses natural rubber and plant oils. A diversity of natural ingredients like biobased charcoal, clay, cork powder, rice hulls, coconut fibres, recycled denim or seaweed are also employed to develop colour or add visual interest.

Tencel Lyocell and Modal fibres are derived from sustainable wood sources and produced using environmentally responsible processes. The fibres are identifiable, verifiable and traceable through Lenzing’s fibre identification technology which enables a physical identification of fibre origin at different stages of production. This enables full traceability of the fibre materials used during the production process, be it on a piece of fabric or finished product, like garments or footwear.

At end of life cycle, products made with Mirum can be recycled into new Mirum or ground up and returned to the earth, while Tencel fibres are compostable and biodegradable, enabling complete circularity of finished products. The collaboration creates a uniquely sustainable alternative for leather applications as both Tencel fibres and Mirum are versatile enough to be used in multiple applications.

“At NFW, we believe that plant matter is the only material that can scale to replace plastic,” said Oihana Elizalde, vice president and general manager of Mirum at NFW. “By adding fabrics made of Tencel to Mirum, we can enhance material transparency and traceability, while guaranteeing comfort and great hand feel on the skin.”

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