Fashion is about more than looking beautiful on the outside. Alchemist makes clothing with a focus on people and the environment. As much as possible, we work with sustainably produced materials. So they feel good in more ways than one.
It goes without saying that we don’t use AZO dyes in the production of our clothes. Nor do we work with phthalates (plasticisers), perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) or nonylphenol ethoxylates.
Tencel ® is a highly durable man-made fibre. It is made from eucalyptus wood from responsibly managed forests. The production process is environmentally friendly, as the solvent and water needed are used and reused in a closed cycle. Put simply, it starts out as wood, becomes pulp, then fibres, yarn and finally the lovely fabric, Tencel ®.
The other good news is that the fabric is silky smooth to the touch, absorbs moisture better than cotton and feels cooler than linen. Ideal for those of us who appreciate comfort. In our collection 15,3% is made of Tencel. *
We use mainly natural materials, like wool, leather, cotton, linen. in our collection 9,1% is made of a linen/cotton mix, which keeps you cool in summer and warm on chilly days.
The reuse of clothes is, of course, sustainable, as we then don’t need to use additional raw materials or water. Which also makes it energy efficient and less damaging to the environment.
We work with recycled linen, a fabric that feels cool in the summer but keeps you warm in cold weather. Recycled denim produces beautiful yarn in gorgeous colours that are a joy to work with. For our winter collections, Alchemist also works with recycled wool, which we mix with a bit of polyamide to make the wool more durable and better able to withstand moisture. In our collection 3,7% is made of recycled denim and 6,1% is made of recycled linen, making a total of 9,8% of recycled yarns. *
Our organic cotton clothes are made using GOTS-certified cotton. The GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is the world’s leading standard for the production process for organic textiles. They guarantee the entire production process for responsibly grown cotton, including the environmental and social aspects of cultivation. This means no hazardous chemicals are used, the farmer is free to choose which crops they grow, and to grow their own food. Organic cotton uses less water and energy because it gets more time to grow. The land also gets more time to recover after harvesting, so the soil doesn’t slowly become infertile. GOTS sets strict conditions for factories where hand-picked cotton is processed: good employment conditions and a good working environment.
36.5% of our collection is made from organic cotton*, and we are striving towards only using organic cotton. Happily, new techniques are bringing with them a growing and increasingly varied assortment in organic cotton, as well as in composite fabrics that contain organic cotton.
The controls may be strict, but that means you know things are in order. Cotton may only have the GOTS label if it contains 95% certified organic cotton. Want to learn more? GOTS
We prefer using merino wool because the wool is extremely fine, very strong and doesn’t itch. Moreover, merino wool is non-mulesing wool. Merino sheep have deep creases in their skin where flies can easily lay eggs. The larvae penetrate the skin of the sheep causing myiasis, an infectious disease that’s very painful for the sheep and can even prove deadly. To avoid this suffering, many sheep farmers cut away skin from around the sheep’s buttocks. This so-called ‘mulesing’ process is also very painful for the sheep, and generally done without anaesthetic to reduce costs by shearers lacking the necessary surgical skills.
Fortunately, we don’t have to choose between two evils, as there is also non-mulesing wool. This is wool involving no mulesing and where the sheep owners have made every effort to prevent infection. For example, through alternative feed, medication and thorough skin inspections. Many of these wools come from sheep bred to have less deep creases (and produce less wool), so that flies have less opportunity to lay their eggs. This site provides more information on mulesing and describes in detail the alternatives.
Just like Tencel®, Modal® is a natural fibre, in this case made from Austrian beech wood. Here, too, the production process is extremely environmentally friendly. The fibre is exceptionally smooth and requires very little energy during later steps, such as colouring and spinning.
Modal® falls very lightly and feels soft as silk. It is ideal for combining with other fabrics.
Viscose feels wonderfully soft, absorbs moisture well and has a stylish look. The fabric is a natural fibre made from wood fibres. The production process for viscose is less environmentally friendly than the more recently developed Tencel and Modal, which is why we only use it sparingly in our collections. In our collection is 29,2% made of viscose, a percentage that we're reducing quickly. *
* collection Spring-Summer'17