Material Guide DRAFT
This material guide is intended to provide you information on the textiles and fibers found in Latimmier products, and educate you on their advantages and potential disadvantages. Specifically, we want to help you understand why we have made these decisions and transparently show how they adhere to our Sustainability Standards.
Table of Contents
- Standards & Certificates in Our Materials
- Organic & BCI-Certified Cotton
- Wool & Recycled Wool
- Cashmere & Recycled Cashmere
- EcoVero™ Viscose
- Tencel™ Lyocell
- Reindeer Leather & Vegetable Tanned Reindeer Leather
- Polyester & Recycled Polyester
- Naturally Dyed Materials
- Deadstock Materials
- Source List
For each product we carefully consider the best possible material to provide long-lasting, yet meaningful design. This may, for example, mean choosing a high quality virgin material over a lesser quality certified recycled material to ensure the longevity of the product.
In this guide we focus on the natural properties of the materials we use, however properties such as breathability, elasticity etc. are vastly affected by the combination of weave/knit structure and the quality (thickness-length ratio of the fiber) of the yarn. Said features combined with with chemical finishes and potential coatings allow materials to have features they naturally may not have. At Latimmier we focus on natural materials (in 2022 76% of our materials were natural and another 10% regenerated natural materials) with few to none chemical finishes and coatings.
It is important also to note that producing new garments always has an impact on the environment, regardless of the level of sustainability of the chosen material. Garment care, such as washing, also has an extensive impact on the environment. Please see our Garment Care Guide on how to correctly take care of your garments and minimize your environmental impact.
For more detailed percentages of what materials we have used in the past and where they were produced, please see our 2022 Sustainability Report. To see our list of preferred and prohibited materials, see here.
2. Standards & Certificates in Our Materials
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard is the leading textile processing standard for organic fibers in the world, including ecological and social criteria, and backed up by independent third-party certification of the entire textile supply chain. GOTS certified organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms).
GOTS certified cotton cultivation adheres to the principles of organic agriculture, a process that sustains the health of ecosystems, soils and people. GOTS also sets requirements concerning working and social conditions that are equivalent to those of leading social sustainability standards.
Read more about GOTS here.
Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.
GRS tracks and traces recycled input materials, reduces harmful impact of production to people and the environment and provides assurance that materials in the final product are actually recycled and processed more sustainably.
Read more about GRS here.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
Better Cotton Initiative certified cotton is not a specific quality of cotton, but rather an initiative that supports its farmers to cultivate and produce cotton in a way that is better for themselves, their communities and the environment.
The Initiative supports cotton farmers in various areas such as minimizing the harmful impact of crop protection practices, economically beneficial and socially equitable ways of water usage, better understanding in protecting the soil and decent working conditions.
Read more about BCI here.
3. Organic & BCI-Certified Cotton
Cotton is a plant-based natural fiber. It's a versatile, naturally non-allergenic fiber that is comfortable to wear due to its breathability and ability to absorb moisture from the skin. We use only GOTS certified or BCI certified cotton in our button-down shirts and jersey products, as well as in some of our trousers and outerwear. In 2022 approximately 32% of our collections were made of cotton. In 2022 our woven cotton fabrics were produced in Italy and Portugal and our cotton jerseys in Italy.
Due to its less ambitious goals and standards compared to GOTS we are actively minimizing the use of BCI certified cotton in our collections and instead emphasize on GOTS cotton. In 2023 approximately 75% of the cotton we used was GOTS certified and 25% BCI.
It should also be noted that the cultivation of any cotton, whether certified or not, is always extremely water-intensive. For this reason we are constantly looking for new solutions that would offer the benefits of cotton fibers but with less water consumption in cultivation or production. Such options include man-made regenerated fibers such as Tencel™ and EcoVero™.
We have investigated the possibility of using fabrics with recycled cotton, however current recycled cotton innovations have not yet met the high quality standards we have for our products. According to our insights, current recycled cotton qualities don't yet share the comfort and longevity of virgin cotton fibers. This is an ongoing process, and we welcome any new innovations related to recycled cotton.
4. Wool & Recycled Wool
Wool is a natural animal fiber collected by shearing from sheep. Wool has great heat insulation properties, making it ideal for colder weather. Due to the structure of wool fibers, the material is naturally stain, water and wrinkle resistant, making it extremely easy-care. Wool retains its heating properties even when wet, making it the true technical material of nature.
We use wool in knitwear and tailoring products such as blazers and trousers, but also in skirts, dresses and shirts. In 2022 approximately 24% of all materials used in our collections were made of wool. In 2022 all of our wool fabrics and wool knitwear yarns were made in Italy.
The most significant environmental impacts of sheep production arise from the breeding and herding of sheep. Nitrogen and phosphorus emissions are produced from sheep urine and feces, which can cause eutrophication of water bodies. Sheep also produce methane emissions when ruminating. Methane, along with carbon dioxide, is one of the most significant greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.
To minimize our environmental impact we have utilized GRS certified recycled wool in our products. Most commonly our recycled wool fabrics have a 70% recycled wool 30% recycled polyester mixture. Because the mechanical recycling process results in wool fibers with lesser strength, recycled polyester is mixed to the yarns, resulting in fabrics that are more durable and long lasting. Recycled wool fabrics are often more heavy with a fuzzier hand feel and thus we mainly use them in heavier outwear but also in selected blazer and trouser styles. In 2022 roughly 7% of our products were made of recycled wool.
To ensure the better wellbeing of sheep we have prohibited wool with muelsing in our products, making all our wool products certified mulesing-free. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from the buttocks of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike. This is usually done without anesthetic or painkillers provided to the animal.
5. Cashmere & Recycled Cashmere
Cashmere is a natural animal fiber collected by combing and shearing from cashmere goats. Cashmere fibers are extremely fine and soft. Compared to lambswool cashmere is much lighter, and offers three times the insulating properties. Just as lambswool, cashmere is naturally stain, water and wrinkle resistant and in general extremely easy-care.
All of these properties makes cashmere an ideal material for knitwear and outerwear. At Latimmier we use heavier cashmere fabrics in overcoats, and lighter versions in tailoring and overshirts.
We've also sourced 100% recycled GRS certified cashmere fabrics in our collections. The raw material in these fabrics is acquired from shredded cutting waste and deadstock fabrics. All of our cashmere fabrics, both virgin and recycled are woven in Italy.
6. EcoVero™ Viscose
To better explain the ecological benefits of EcoVero™ viscose, we will first explain the processes of regular viscose. Viscose is semi-synthetic fiber that is made from regenerated cellulose such as wood pulp. In other words, the raw material in viscose is natural, but it is produced through a non-natural chemical process.
Since viscose fibers are man-made, the properties vary depending on the desired outcome. Some qualities imitate cotton and linen, others silk and even wool. In general viscose fabrics and knits are soft and breathable and similarly to cotton they have a great ability to absorb moisture from the skin. Viscose qualities are less elastic and less durable than cotton, so viscose knitwear yarns may be mixed with small quantities of elastane or other fibers to enhance their properties.
The ecological disadvantages of viscose relate to the many chemicals producing the fibers require. Treating the wood pulp is a highly polluting process and releases many toxic chemicals.
For these reasons, we use EcoVero™ viscose in our products in stead of regular viscose. EcoVero™ viscose fibers are derived from certified and controlled sustainable wood and pulp sources. EcoVero™ fibers have been certified with the EU Ecolabel for textile products as meeting high environmental standards throughout their life cycle: from raw material extraction to production, distribution and disposal. This makes it a vastly more environment friendly option to traditional viscose.
We use EcoVero™ viscose yarns in our knitwear products particularly in more complex technical structures. In 2022 approximately 4% of our products were made from EcoVero™. EcoVero™ viscose knitwear yarns are made in Austria.
7. Tencel™ Lyocell
Tencel™ is a trademarked brand name for a type of lyocell. Lyocell fibers are produced in a similar semi-synthetic process as viscose by dissolving wood pulp in a chemical solution. Lyocell is a strong yet soft fiber. It shares many good qualities with viscose including a great moisture absorption capability.
Most importantly, lyocell has many ecological advantages compared to viscose, which is why we prefer it over viscose in our collections. The most common raw material for lyocell, the eucalyptus tree, does not require the use of pesticides and the fiber is produced in a closed loop system that reuses water and chemicals, resulting in vastly lesser chemical waste. The process of producing lyocell is also 5 times quicker than that of viscose, which means it requires less energy and thus has a smaller comparable impact to the environment.
We use Tencel™ fabrics in our shirting and more lightweight trousers and dresses. In 2022 approximately 4% of our products were made from Tencel™. While Tencel™ lyocell yarns are spun in Austria, our Tencel™ fabrics are woven in Portugal.
8. Reindeer Leather & Vegetable Tanned Reindeer Leather
Leather is a natural material that is made by tanning animal skins and hides. Most commonly used leathers in the fashion industry are lambskin, calfskin, cowhide and goatskin. Leather is durable and flexible and ideal for outerwear and trousers, as well as various types of accessories.
At Latimmier we use local Finnish reindeer leather and vegetable tanned adult reindeer leather in our products. Reindeer skin is a co-product (a term we prefer over the somewhat misleading term 'by-product') of the reindeer meat industry - the most important source of income for reindeer herders in the northern parts of Scandinavia. Unlike many animals in the meat industry, reindeer live freely in the wild, which often results in marks from nature in the skins - a cherished trait that makes each skin more unique. Reindeer skin is ultra soft for the touch and drapes extremely well.
We use reindeer leather in our leather trousers. In 2022 approximately 8% of our products were made of leather. Our reindeer skins are tanned by Ahlskog tannery, a 100-year old local tannery specializing in reindeer skins and more sustainable tanning processes. According to the tannery, Ahlskog was one of the first tanneries in the world to claim certificate for its environmentally friendly production. You can read more on their tanning process here.
We also use vegetable tanned reindeer leather from Ahlskog. Vegetable tanning is an ancient process of tanning leather that only uses natural ingredients to achieve a desired color. Some of the disadvantages of vegetable tanning is that it requires a lot of water and the process is much slower than that of chemical chrome-based tanning.
It should be stated that we consciously want to use real leather as a material due to it's durability and long lifespan - a characteristic that is vital for our Circular Economy Objectives. As stated in our Preferred & Prohibited Materials list, we have banned polyurethane, an oil-based synthetic material most commonly used to create synthetic leather products and we will never opt for PU leather over real leather.
There are several innovations for plant based leathers and recycled leathers that we have tested in the past and continue to test in the future. In 2022 we sampled several products in an innovative recycled leather quality and currently we're evaluating their durability through active use. All in all, we will proactively continue to explore as sustainable as possible options for leather without compromising the durability and longevity of the final product.
9. Polyester & Recycled Polyester
Polyester is a synthetic fiber most commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The production of polyester is a chemical process, and the raw materials are obtained from the distillation products of crude oil. Polyester is an elastic, strong, wrinkle-resistant, and resilient fiber. Polyester repels water and therefore dries very quickly.
Polyester is by far the most produced textile fiber in the world, and in 2020 its share of the global fiber market was approximately 56%, of which some 15% was recycled polyester. Approximately 99% of recycled polyester is made from recycled PET plastic bottles.
The most significant environmental impacts of polyester are related to the use of non-renewable natural resources, energy-intensive manufacturing processes, and the release of microplastics from products made from polyester, which can cause various environmental hazards when they enter water bodies. The carbon dioxide emissions from the production of recycled polyester are about 1/3 of those from virgin polyester.
For these reasons we only use polyester when necessary: mixed with other fibers to enhance their stretch or durability qualities to ensure a longer lifespan. Following our Preferred & Prohibited Materials list, we only use polyester mixed in percentages that still allow the material to be recycled.
In 2022 only 5% of our materials contained polyester and another 5% recycled polyester. We used polyester mixed with wool in certain showpiece tailoring items and mixed with viscose in knitwear. We used recycled polyester mixed with recycled wool in blazers and trousers. In 2022 all our materials mixed with polyester were made in Italy.
Silk is a natural animal fiber obtained from the cocoons of silkworm (Bombyx mori). Silkworm larvae feed exclusively on the leaves of the mulberry tree. Silk fiber is nature's only filament fiber (a continuous fiber). One silkworm cocoon can produce up to 1600 meters of silk fiber.
Silk is a soft and strong fiber with a beautiful natural sheen that can absorb up to 30% of moisture without feeling wet. Silk fabrics come in various qualities from more liquid marocaines and sateens to firmer organzas. Like wool, silk is one of nature's technical materials as it feels cool on the skin in warm weather, but it also has excellent thermal insulation properties on cold weather.
We use silk in shirts and dresses as well as in some tailoring products. In 2022 approximately 6% of our products were made from silk. Our silk fabrics are sourced through a local Finnish agent from China, which is the largest producer of both silk fiber and silk fabrics.
The key sustainability issues of silk production are related to the cultivation of mulberry trees, the chemicals used in production, water and energy consumption, and animal rights. For example, one hectare of mulberry trees produces about 11 tons of leaves for silkworms to eat, which ultimately results in only 40 kilograms of raw silk. Organic and recycled silk qualities also exist, and while we're yet to source these types of silks in fabrics that meet our quality standards, we're actively looking for better alternatives.
11. Naturally Dyed Materials
Naturally dyed materials are any plant or animal based fibers that are dyed with dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. Natural dyes are biodegradable, non-toxic and non-allergenic and they have a much lower environmental impact than synthetic dyes and pigments.
Natural dyeing often results in slight variances of desired color due to the natural origin of the dyes and the lack of chemical bonding of dyes to fibers. Naturally dyed fabrics are also more sensitive to sunlight, sweat and other naturally occurring phenomena, and often the colors and hues of these fabrics change over time. This means that product development of naturally dyed items takes more time as dyes and nature's affect on them need to be tested. However, at Latimmier we welcome slower processes such as the ones related to natural dye testing - we consider them as a natural part of our artistic process.
Following our Sustainability Objectives for 2025, in 2023 we piloted our own natural dye processes. We dyed and printed silk organza for tailoring purposes. Following our Circular Economy Objectives, we used post consumer waste coffee grounds collected from cafeterias and gas stations near our studio in Helsinki to dye and print the silk. We achieved tremendous results and we're currently testing the products to see how the natural dyes react to real life, with hopes to launch bulk production for our first naturally dyed products in 2024.
12. Deadstock Materials
Deadstock materials refer to any type of material that is considered unsellable or otherwise unusable. Most commonly these may be the odd final meters of a roll of fabric or purchases of materials that for one reason or another are rendered useless.
Not all "last meters of fabrics rolls" are deadstock, however, and it should be noted that greenwashing often occurs when discussing the use of deadstock materials. We only consider a fabric to be deadstock if one cannot use or sell it and would otherwise discard it as waste.
In 2022 approximately 3% of our materials were deadstock materials (marked as upcycled in our 2022 Sustainability Report) and we used deadstock for showpiece outerwear. In 2022 our deadstock materials were sourced from Finland and originally woven in Italy. Our goal is to expand the use of deadstock materials in showpieces and in limited capsule collections.
13. Source List
In addition to our own expertise and knowledge, we have used the following sources to create this guide:
- Ahlskog - Products
- Better Cotton - Our Principles and Criteria
- Common Objective - Viscose and Its Impact
- Ecovero - Benefits
- Finnish Textile and Fashion - Textile Guide (in finnish)
- Global Organic Textile Standard
- Tencel - Sustainability
- Textile Exchange - Global Recycled Standard 4.0
This page was last updated November 7th 2023