Cellulose fibers are making a comeback as consumers ditch synthetics


In Tennessee, Eastman Chemical is seeing demand for its cellulose fibers increase as the fashion industry works to improve its sustainability profile and meet demand from green-conscious consumers.

Eastman began making fiber from cellulose in the 1920s, but saw demand gradually decline as cheaper, synthetic fibers like polyester grew in popularity among textile makers.

Now, the company’s cellulose fibers, dubbed Naia, is making a comeback.

“We’ve seen a resurgence in the last several years for fibers made from nature,” Jon Woods, Eastman’s general manager of Textiles, tells Kingsport Times.  “So any fiber or material made from a natural resource or raw material is being favored by consumers because of its sustainability story. The other reason is that it makes some really nice fabrics, very luxurious and soft to the touch.”

Naia is also hypoallergenic, quick drying, and cool to the touch.  We see a growth opportunity to be able to utilize our technology platforms and manufacturing capability to really intersect with a growing market demand for these types of products,” Woods adds.