We’re a bit picky with our fabrics at TAMGA. In fact, since we started the brand in 2016 we’ve worked with only 4 fabrics! Each fabric has been 100% one fibre, never blended.
Why so picky? After all, most fabrics have that little bit of elastane, polyester or cotton in them. Try finding a 100% TENCEL™ t-shirt for example - aside from ours, it’s not that easy. We decided early on at TAMGA that we would only work with fabrics that are fully traceable, renewable and biodegradable. If we add in 5% elastane with our TENCEL™, we can forget about two of those criteria (elastane, also known as spandex, is made from oil and won’t biodegrade).
Our curiosity, however, kept us searching for new fibres with a different feel and drape. For years now we’ve been talking to suppliers in Europe and Asia about one magical plant in particular: flax. There’s a region that hugs the Atlantic coasts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands where this plant is grown with zero irrigation or pesticides, then processed into Linen fibre using traditional techniques. It’s the natural home of Linen.
While flax thrives naturally in this area, it’s also grown in other countries where conditions and/or standards are not as ideal. Take flax out of its natural environment, and you begin seeing shortcuts being taken – either to adjust the soil (fertilizers), ward off pests (pesticides), speed the processing (chemical retting), or irrigate due to insufficient rainfall.
The key takeaway is that linen from Northwestern Europe requires fewer inputs than elsewhere, giving it a much lower chemical and water footprint, and resulting in the highest quality fibre. If we were to get linen of this standard elsewhere (like China), it would need to be certified organic – and since less than 1% of linen in the world is certified organic, it can be tricky to find.
Ultimately we settled on certified European Flax Linen, a fibre that’s traceable back to the farmer and grown in Northwestern Europe. It’s a high-quality fibre that guarantees proper treatment of soil, water resources and farmers. We especially love that the entire flax plant is put to use – stalk, fibres and seeds all have a purpose.
But as you may know, our work isn’t done until we can convert a sustainable fibre into a fabric that we actually want to wear. Linen is a notoriously “crinkly” fabric that wrinkles easily and can be a little rough on the skin. Our wonderful fabric mill in Indonesia was able to source the European Flax from France and blend it with TENCEL™, creating a fibre that strikes an incredible balance between structure and fluidity without compromising on sustainability. We like to think of it as a blend between old-world and new – natural and traditional Linen with a new-age, closed-loop fibre.
We’re so excited to introduce our newest fabric to the world, knowing that we’ve taken our time to get it right. Not only does it tick our ‘traceable – renewable – biodegradable’ boxes, but it’s also incredible to work with and has allowed our team to incorporate design elements that aren’t possible with our other fabrics. Ready to see the magic of our newest fabric? Click here and get to know Elysian!