White Cupro Fabric resembling vegan silk

Cupro Fabric: Unmasking the Truth of the 2023 Sustainable Movement

We aren’t making any affiliate money from this post yet, but please be sure to take a look at our Editorial Guidelines to understand our ethos for sustainable products.

On my never ending hunt for up and coming sustainable textiles, I stumbled upon cupro fabric.

“Hmm… Cupro Fabric (pronounced koo-pro)…, this sounds like menstrual product.” – i said laughingly.

But just when you think you know fabrics, another wonder material comes through and leaves you enamored.

I had to know more.

Crafted ingeniously from cotton waste – specifically recycled cotton linter fibers – this rayon fabric stood out.

We’ll teach you all about Cupro Fabric and how they’re used.

A Closer Look at Cupro: Beyond First Impressions

When i first got my hands on it I was pretty surprised, it feels just like cotton.

Should’ve been obvious to me, being that cupro fabrics are made from cotton waste.

It’s soft, breathable, and carries a hint of familiarity.

The cupro fabric’s journey being derived from the cotton plants waste is a true testament to human ingenuity.

Cupro’s secret lies in the Cuprammonium process

A clever technique named after the copper and caustic soda solution into which cotton linters are dissolved.

These cotton linters, which are the fine, downy natural fibers that cling to cotton seeds, would normally be discarded in the cotton production process.

But instead, they’re upcycled and given a new life!

By undergoing this dissolution and later regeneration, these linters are reborn as a fabric that finds its niche somewhere between the luxury of real silk and the resilience of modern synthetic fibers.

It’s all about versatility.

Unlike high-maintenance silk, Cupro offers the plush feeling without the accompanying fragility. Think of it as a vegan silk.

Its drape and sheen mirror that of silk, yet it’s more enduring, holding its own when faced with regular wear and tear.

Cupro’s Family Tree: Is Cupro the Same as Rayon?

There are so many incredible sustainable semi synthetic fabrics, each having a different texture, and a unique story.

With tons of rayon fabrics, cupro fabric really stands out.

Cupro is very similar to rayon because both are regenerated cellulose fibers.

Meaning they both start from a natural base (like wood pulp or cotton waste)

and then undergo chemical processes to be reborn as soft, silky textiles.

The term “ammonia silk” tends to pop up when discussing Cupro.

This name came to be because cupro fabric’s silk-like feel.

When you run your fingers across a piece of Cupro, you’re met with a softness and sheen that could easily be mistaken for the cherished fabric spun by silkworms.

But they are not equal.

Unlike silk, which is a natural protein fiber, Cupro fabric is a semi-synthetic textile derived from plant-based materials.

Silk requires the careful breeding and cultivation of silkworms, but Cupro production takes a more sustainable path.

We’re taking waste, and creating a luxurious fabric that has better moisture wicking properties and the ability to be dyed in a vast array of colors.

The story of cupro fabric is one of transformation and sustainability, turning overlooked cotton waste into fabric gold.

Sustainable Underpinnings: Cupro Production and the Environment

In 2023 our planet’s health is a top priority, the materials we choose to wear play a pivotal role in our environmental footprint.

This brings us to the heart of cupro fabric charm: its sustainable lineage.

The very essence of cupro manufacturing process comes from an often-overlooked byproduct in cotton production.

In traditional scenarios, around 18,000 tons of these linters are discarded every year, adding to the massive waste in the textile industry.

But instead of clogging landfills, they can be reborn as the lush, silk-like Cupro fabric.

When we analyze the cuprammonium process through which cupro fibers are created, there’s an innate focus on recycling and reusing chemicals.

This circulatory approach reduces the strain on our natural resources and limits the release of pollutants, making the entire production cycle far more environmentally friendly compared to conventional cotton or other synthetics.

Cupro’s lightweight nature ensures it requires less energy during the washing and drying phases, further amplifying its green credentials.

Yet, as with all materials, it’s essential to approach with a balanced perspective.

Cupro in Action: Beyond Underwear and Fashion

Taking a page from the surprising versatility of Merino Wool, Cupro is on a global takeover.

Tactile luxury?

Cupro fabric has that.

Hand feel?

Buttery smooth against the skin with this inherent cooling attribute that makes it incredible on 103 degree days, leaving you feeling light.

Brands have caught onto this, integrating cupro into more than just basic wear.

The magic of cupro goes beyond its sustainable production; it’s about how it performs and elevates underwear, everyday and active wear.

What about other textiles?

Its drape and sheen make it a sought-after material for luxury linens.

Watch out Bamboo

Suits, Scarves, Jackets, Crop tops, Coats and more, it has incredible potential.

The takeaway? Cupro fabric is not just an answer to sustainability concerns but also a solution to the demand for versatile, high-performance fabrics.

Cupro Fabric vs the Rest:

When it comes to textiles, there’s an almost gladiatorial sense of competition.

In one corner, the time-tested cotton, known and loved by all.

Its comfort is legendary, its texture familiar.

In another corner, the majestic silk, with its millennia-long legacy of luxury and elegance.

Then there’s viscose, with its own significant fan base, derived from plant-based materials and possessing its own charm.

Yet, here comes cupro fabric… and not as an underdog, but as a strong contender with a distinct edge.

This isn’t just another fabric looking for a fleeting moment in the spotlight.

No, Cupro’s charm lies in its balanced fusion of the best of both worlds – the organic feel of cotton and the sleekness of silk.

Comparing it to viscose, another semi synthetic textile, Cupro fabric shines with its unique selling points.

While both fabrics have their roots in plant-based materials, Cupro takes sustainability even further.

With its reduced water usage in production and biodegradability, it becomes an environmental champion.

Plus, its hypoallergenic properties make it invaluable for those of us with sensitive skin, a quality not always associated with other semi synthetic fiber.

Cupro might be the new kid on the block, but it isn’t here to play small.

With Cupro fabric, the fashion industry is witnessing a shift – towards eco-friendliness without compromising on luxury or functionality.

The Production Puzzle: Where Cupro Comes to Life

Every fabric has a story, a tale of its birth and evolution.

Cupro’s story is particularly captivating, intertwined with innovation, sustainability, and the tireless efforts of those who believe in a greener future for fashion.

Cupro begins its journey in the cotton fields, not as the cotton we’re familiar with, but as the overlooked cotton linter – a fine, silky fiber that clings to the seeds of the cotton plant.

Traditionally, these cotton linters were discarded or used for lesser-known applications. But innovation saw potential where others saw waste.

Enter China’s synthetic textile factories, where the conditions resemble that of modern-day slave labor…

In these bustling factories, cotton linters undergo a transformation through the cuprammonium process.

This process uses copper and ammonia to dissolve the cellulosic waste from cotton to produce a regenerated cellulose solution, which is then spun into the fibers we recognize as Cupro.

But China’s involvement isn’t just about production; it’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible (which hasn’t always proven to be a positive thing).

China’s synthetic textile factories are at the forefront of research and development in the textile domain, but that does come at a cost.

In essence, Cupro isn’t just a product of chemical processes and machinery.

Ideally, Cupro fabric production would be a manifestation of a vision – a vision where fashion treads lightly on the earth, where waste finds new purpose, and where innovation paves the way for sustainability.

But we still have a long way to go.

Beyond the Surface: Delving Deeper into Cupro’s Characteristics

  1. Soft and Luxurious Feel: Cupro fabric has a soft, silky texture that provides a luxurious feel against the skin, making it a popular choice for linings and premium garments.

  2. Breathability: The fabric allows for excellent air circulation, which ensures that wearers stay cool and dry, especially during warmer climates. This makes it suitable for summer wear.

  3. Moisture Management: Cupro fabric can absorb moisture from the skin and release it into the atmosphere. This ensures that wearers remain comfortable, even in humid conditions.

  4. Drape and Fluidity: The fabric has a beautiful drape, which makes it ideal for creating flowing dresses, skirts, and blouses. It can enhance the aesthetic of the garment with its natural sheen and fluid movement.

  5. Durability: Even though it feels delicate, cupro fabric is relatively durable and can withstand wear and tear. It doesn’t pill easily, ensuring that garments maintain their appearance over time.

  6. Hypoallergenic: Cupro is gentle on the skin and doesn’t cause allergic reactions, making it suitable for people with sensitive skin.

  7. Sustainability: Derived from old cotton (the fine fibers that stick to the cotton seeds after ginning), cupro fabric is a more sustainable option when compared to some other fabrics. Its production reduces waste in the cotton industry.

  8. Wrinkle Resistance: Garments made from cupro fabrics usually resist wrinkling, which means less ironing and maintenance for the wearer.

  9. Thermal Regulation: Cupro fibers have the ability to regulate body temperature, ensuring you are comfortable in hot, humid, and chilly weather.

  10. Biodegradability: Since cupro fabric is derived from a natural source, it’s biodegradable, which aligns with the increasing demand for eco-friendly materials in the fashion industry.

The Quest for Alternatives: The Sustainable Fabric Landscape

Origins of Rayon:

Cupro fabric and rayon are intertwone in history.

Rayon was the first man-made fiber, developed as a substitute for silk.

The initial attempts at producing artificial silk date back to the 1850s, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that solid production methods were established.

Introduction of the Cuprammonium Process:

The Cuprammonium process, from which cupro derives its name, involves using caustic soda to dissolve cellulose in an ammoniac copper oxide (copper salts) solution.

This process was first patented by a Swiss company in 1890.

The resulting solution is then spun into fibers.

Popularity in Europe:

Cupro began to gain traction in European textile industries in the early 20th century, especially in Germany.

Bemberg and Cupro: Decoding the Material Mystery

It may sound like an elite, secretive fabric club, but it’s essentially the creme de la creme of Cupro fabric.

Originating from a specific production process providing a finer finish, Bemberg reinforces Cupro fabric’s reputation as both versatile and luxurious.

If you want the best, you want Bemberg.

Post-War Era and the Rise of Semi Synthetic Fibers:

After World War II, with the advent of newer synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, the popularity of traditional rayons, including cupro, dropped off unfortunately.

These semi synthetic fabric were cheaper for the supply chain and had certain desirable properties.

Resurgence with Sustainability:

Thankfully, there is a renewed interest in cupro due to the fashion industry’s push towards sustainability!

This is where manufacturers with fair trade standards need to come into play.

Modern Innovations:

Modern manufacturing techniques have made cupro fabric even more versatile.

The fabric’s eco-credentials, combined with its natural sheen and softness, have made it a choice fabric for many designers and brands looking to merge luxury with sustainability.

Conclusion: Cupro – The Unsung Hero of Sustainable Fabrics?

Cupro has the potential to absolutely dominate the fashion industry in the coming years, and we’re all about it.

Brands We Support:

Whimsy + Row

Perfectly Basics



Similar Posts