At Alchemist we like to work with natural materials. Our materials are sustainably produced and almost always certified. We avoid using azo-dyes, plasticizers and nonylphenol ethoxylates in the production of our clothing. Wool, cotton, and linen are fabrics that keep you cool in summer, but also warm on cooler days. In addition to these materials, we use a couple of natural synthetic fibers and synthetic fibers. These synthetic fibers are only used to enhance the performance of other materials.
About 35% of our collection is made with organic cotton. All our organic cotton is GOTS-certified. This way we are sure no harsh chemicals are used and the farmers are free to choose their crops and allowed to grow their own food. GOTS has set strict requirements for the working conditions in cotton farms and factories. Organic cotton uses less water and energy because it gets more time to grow. The land gets more time to recover after harvesting so the soil doesn’t get infertile. We also use BCI certified cotton. At the moment, less than 1% of our collection is produced with conventional cotton, but we aim to remove all conventional cotton from our production in the near future.
For a part of our knitwear, we use wools like ethical mohair, alpaca, and merino. We buy these wools from suppliers that are certified and where the animals don’t have to suffer for their wool. From 2020 on, we will not be using mohair in our collections anymore.
Merino sheep have deep folds in their skin where flies want to lay their eggs. These larvae penetrate the skin, causing myiasis, a painful infectious disease that can lead to death. To avoid this, many sheep farmers cut away the skin from around the sheep’s buttocks, which is usually done in a very painful manner. This is called mulesing.
We only use non-mulesing merino wool. The sheep farmers we work with who are doing everything to avoid infections, like using different foods, medication and extensively inspecting the animals. The sheep are also bred to have shallower creases so the flies can’t lay their eggs there.
Leather and exotic animal hair
We have decided that from 2019 on we will not be using any leather in our clothing or accessories anymore. From now on we will be using vegan alternatives. We do not use skin from exotic animals in our collections.
Linen is a natural material that is made from the flax plant. The material is very strong and heat resistant. It absorbs well and breathes, which makes it a nice material for summer. The production of linen is sustainable because flax can be cultivated in a very efficient way. Flax can grow on poor soil using far less water than cotton. The flax plant also gives a lot of useful byproducts, like linseed, so that nothing of the plants is wasted in production.
At this point, about 10% of our collection is made with recycled materials, such as ECOTEC fabrics. Reusing textiles is a sustainable option because we don’t need any extra raw materials or water. This way we can save energy and we’re putting a lot less strain on the environment. The materials we recycle are linen and denim, and in our winter collections, we like to use recycled wool too. We mix the wool with a little bit of polyamide to give it more strength and make it more absorbent.
Natural synthetic fibers
Tencel is a trademark owned by Lenzing that sustainably creates the materials Lyocell, Modal and EcoVero. Lyocell and Modal are man-made materials of botanic origin. The fibers are compostable and biodegradable. At this point, about 13% of our collection is made with by Lenzing produced materials.
Tencel Lyocell is made with eucalyptus wood from forests with an FSC-certificate. The production process is environmentally friendly because the solvent and water can be used and reused in a closed cycle. We like to use the material because it’s silky smooth, absorbs better than cotton and feels even cooler than linen. Ideal if you’re choosing comfort.
Tencel Modal is made with Austrian beech wood. The man-made fiber is smooth and uses little energy during later steps in production, such as coloring or spinning. Modal falls very lightly and feels soft as silk. Tencel has received an EU ecolabel for the sustainable production of Modal.
EcoVero is a sustainable version of viscose that is produced from wood pulp from European, FSC certified forests. The chemicals used to dissolve the wood are reused and the fibers are bleached 100% chlorine-free. EcoVero is colorfast which makes the material very durable. Unfortunately, at this point, not all types of viscose can be replaced by EcoVero. We strive to use only EcoVero in the future, that’s why we keep track of all developments and swap viscose for EcoVero where possible.
Viscose is an artificially manufactured fiber that is made from wood. The production process is not as environmentally friendly as Lyocell and EcoVero fibers. For this reason, we only use this material sparsely.
To maintain the quality of various garments, we sometimes have to mix our yarns with synthetic fibres like acrylic, polyamide and polyester. Where possible we choose regenerated or recycled fibres. The reason why we still use these fibers is because we want our clothing to be long lasting. Knitwear can be quite delicate if not mixed with synthetic yarns, increasing the chance of pilling and stretching.