MATERIAL GUIDE

We work with our global suppliers to sustainably source the best materials for every Filippa K piece in terms of aesthetic, comfort and performance. Explore our guide to learn more about the materials we love, and why we’ve chosen them for our long-lasting pieces.

We work with our global suppliers to sustainably source the best materials for every Filippa K piece in terms of aesthetic, comfort and performance. Explore our guide to learn more about the materials we love, and why we’ve chosen them for our long-lasting pieces.


COTTON

Cotton is a natural fibre that’s gentle on the skin, comfortable to wear and has moisture-absorbing properties. We use it throughout our collections for its durability, breathability and ease of care – most commonly in wardrobe basics like denim and t-shirts. Cotton seeds are typically planted in the spring, and once harvested the plant is taken to a cotton gin where the fibre is separated and packaged for shipment. We use three types of more sustainable cotton in our garments, depending on availability and what is most suitable for the design.


Materials marked with the * icon are classed as a more sustainable fibre based on our Fibre Tool.

 

ORGANIC COTTON *


Organic cotton is grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or GMO crops. Less than 1% of the cotton grown in the world is organic. We use this fibre in our cotton pieces as often as we can, but due to the limited global supply of this fibre we are not always able to source it in the necessary yarn sizes. Organic cotton works particularly well in styles that are worn close to the body, like t-shirts and woven shirting.

PIMA COTTON


Pima cotton is cotton that has a very long fibre length which is wrinkle and pill resistant with a smooth luxurious feeling. Due to its unique fibre length, it is in very limited supply globally. Traditionally, other types of extra-long staple fibre cotton include Sea Island cotton and Egyptian cotton, but these terms can be used for marketing purposes and the actual cotton plant might not be as luxurious as implied. Its softness and lustre make it ideal for jersey t-shirts. 

RECYCLED COTTON *


Recycled cotton enables waste to be reused. Cotton can be recycled from post-consumer garments, or pre-consumer industrial waste from yarn, fabric or garment production. The cotton waste is sorted by colour and then shredded and blended mechanically into new fibres. The cotton fibres become shorter and weaker after recycling, so recycled cotton is often blended with a non-recycled fibre for strength. Because the recycled cotton is not dyed, the amount of energy, water, and dye used in the production is typically reduced compared to regular cotton. We like to use recycled cotton in more durable pieces like denim and outerwear.


WOOL *

Wool is a common natural fibre that is obtained from sheep and other animals: cashmere and mohair come from goats, alpaca is from animals in the camel family, and angora comes from rabbits. It is renewable, recyclable, and – if not treated with chemicals – biodegradable. Wool is best known for its warming properties when it’s cold, but it is also temperature-regulating to stay cool when it’s warm. This is due to the structure of wool fibres, which enables them to trap air and absorb moisture without becoming damp. 


Each type of wool has unique properties. Cashmere is one of the softest and most luxurious fibres available, but it can also be prone to pilling due to its nature. Mohair is a long and lustrous fibre, so it gives an airiness and fluffy look when used. Merino is one of the finest types of wool. We work with our suppliers to responsibly source the best of each kind for our garments.

 

ALPACA *


This type of wool comes from alpacas in the camel family, and the alpaca we use is sourced from Peru. The silky fibres are long (10-20 cm) and fine, giving it a softer and more durable quality than sheep’s wool. The processing requires less water and fewer chemicals than other wools. Alpaca fleece is a renewable resource, and the animals have padded hooves that leave a lighter footprint – making them easier on the earth. The fabric is hypoallergenic, it resists shrinking, and it has a soft and lightweight feeling that’s ideal for knitted garments.

CASHMERE


Our cashmere is sourced primarily from herders in Inner Mongolia as opposed to cashmere farmers. These types of goats can be harder on the land than other animals, because they pull up plants from the roots. Because of this, we’re mindful of where we source it. The smaller scale family-run operations we work with are able to take care of the land and move the animals to prevent overgrazing. The herders are offered education in land management and animal welfare. Cashmere from these goats is six times finer than human hair, giving it a signature soft and luxurious feel. Similar to other types of wool, it is also temperature-regulating. We use it in our knitwear and outerwear fabric.

MERINO


This type of wool comes from merino sheep. Their skin can tend to be more wrinkled than other types of sheep, which means that some farmers practice mulesing. For our heavy knits in our permanent collection, we source merino wool from South Africa where we can ensure it is mulesing-free. Details about other products that include merino wool can be found on each product page. The fibre is finer and softer than regular wool, yet it has the same temperature-regulating qualities. It is high in quality and can be spun into fine wire threads that create a breathable material. This makes it ideal for lighter knitwear pieces, and for suiting fabric.

MOHAIR *


Mohair comes from the angora goat which produces long fibres with a high lustre and shine. It has a soft and lightweight feel, and is considered a luxury fibre like cashmere and silk. It also provides a unique fluffy textured appearance that sets it apart from other types of wool. We source our mohair from farms in South Africa, and the material can be found in our sweaters and some outerwear fabric. The use of mohair in the fashion industry can be problematic due to a lack of standards, so we’ve worked together with other brands and Textile Exchange to help create the first global standard for providing traceability and sustainability for mohair: the Responsible Mohair Standard. We use RMS mohair in most of our heavy knits styles, and are working to increase the use of it further in our supply chain.

MULESING-FREE WOOL *


Mulesing is a procedure used on sheep that is considered by animal rights groups as cruel. When we declare our wool to be mulesing-free, we can confirm that the sheep have not endured this procedure. Our suppliers receive a certification letter that confirms the origin of their mulesing-free wool. However, supply chains are complex and not all of our suppliers can offer mulesing-free wool when we request it. As we work toward our 2030 goal to only use fully traceable and sustainable materials, we will phase out the use of mulesed wool entirely.

RECYCLED WOOL *


We source recycled wool from both pre-consumer and post-consumer sources. For pre-consumer, mulesing-free wool fibres that are waste from the carding process are spun into new yarns in Italy for us to use. The post-consumer fibres come from wool garments that are recycled into new fabric in a traditional method from Prato in Italy. It’s a very hands-on process that requires a unique type of expertise to blend the colours of the wool. Recycled wool uses less water and energy than the production of virgin wool. It can be found in our suiting fabric, outerwear and sweaters.

SWEDISH WOOL *


In 2019, we worked with a local farm and another Swedish brand to develop a new supply chain to source Swedish wool. Sweden’s sheep provide over 1000 tonnes of wool each year, most of which goes to waste. We visited the farm Norrby Gård to learn about how we can turn this into a resource. As a result, we set up a supply chain to develop our first Swedish wool sweater with a naturally raw, organic material that ensures good animal welfare and a reduced carbon footprint. We’ve continued to develop this supply chain and will use Swedish wool in future collections as well, sharing this method with other brands in a sustainable, scalable way.


> Learn more

YAK *


We source yak wool from Tibet, as yaks are native to the Himalayas. The yarn they produce is valued for its warmth, breathability, and durability – it is 30% warmer than sheep’s wool and softer than cashmere. The organic fibres resist pilling, are thermal regulating, resist odour and water, and are hypoallergenic and moth-proof. These qualities make it an ideal material for long-lasting, luxurious knitwear that can be worn in cooler months.


SYNTHETIC

 

ACETATE


Acetate is a soft and delicate fibre that provides drape, flow, and a slight sheen to the styles that it is used in. It’s often mixed with other fibres to for strength and durability. The semi-syntheyic material is made from wood pulp and processed with chemicals. We use acetate from Eastman called Naia™, which ensures that the wood pulp comes from managed forests (no deforestation or habitat loss) and that the chemicals are processed in a closed loop. Triacetate (see below) is a similar fibre with a slightly different structure and process.

TRIACETATE *


Triacetate is a semi-synthetic fibre that’s regenerated from wood pulp, then processed with chemicals. It is created in a closed loop and Bluesign-certified process that recycles the solvent used. The fibre is produced exclusively by Mitsubishi in Japan. It has a relaxed, flowing feeling and is a long-lasting and durable material that keeps its properties for years of wear. It resists shrinking and wrinkling (so it doesn’t need much ironing), dries quickly, is machine washable, and doesn’t pill or produce static. We often blend triacetate with other fibres, and it can be found in dresses, blouses, trousers and jackets.

ELASTANE


Also known as spandex or Lycra, elastane is a synthetic technical fibre that gives stretch to fabric. The invention of elastane in the 1950s revolutionised the fashion industry by enabling garments to return to their original shape after stretching. It’s usually mixed with polyester or polyamide in sportswear, and with cotton or wool in trousers and suits. Today, clothing containing a high percentage of elastane is not recyclable as commercial technology to separate elastane from other fibres does not exist. We keep this in mind when we decide to add elastane to our garments, as we consider the end of life of our pieces during the design process. We use elastane for performance benefits in our activewear, and in pieces like trousers, suits, and dresses where comfort stretch improves the garment and increases wearability.

LYOCELL


Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fibre made from wood pulp, often from the eucalyptus tree, and is comfortable to wear with a unique powdery texture. While the generic name for this fibre is lyocell, we often use Tencel™ produced by Lenzing™, which is traceable to managed forests and processed in a safe way. Tencel™ is made of regenerated material that comes from wood. It is processed without chemicals in a closed loop process that recycles 99.5% of solvents, while the remaining trace amounts are decomposed in biological purification plants. The eucalyptus trees are grown on farms where no old growth forests, genetic manipulation, or pesticides are used. These forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for social and environmental responsibility. We use lyocell in our products because it is sustainable and incredibly soft. It’s most commonly found in jersey tees and dresses, men’s shirting, and blended into suiting and other fabrics. 

REFIBRA *


Refibra is a fibre from Lenzing™, made from recycled cotton (from pre- and post-consumer sources) mixed with Tencel™ fibres. It is processed in a closed loop, using 95% less water than conventional cotton fibres—and is biodegradable.

POLYAMIDE


Polyamide (also called nylon) comes from petrochemicals, which means it is not a renewable resource. Similar to polyester, polyamide is a polymer: it is made up of many monomers bound together, but the way these bond together is different than in polyester. Polyamide is slightly more durable, and less prone to pilling, than polyester. It is also tear-proof and resistant to abrasions. The material is designed to absorb moisture but not to retain it, which makes it ideal for products like activewear leggings and tops. It also works well in functional outerwear.

RECYCLED POLYAMIDE *


Recycled polyamide takes something previously treated as waste and gives it a new use. It decreases our need to extract non-renewable resources for its production. Recycled polyamide can come from pre-consumer sources, like the fibre production of virgin polyamide, or post-consumer sources like fishing nets or carpets. We use this material in our swimwear and activewear.

POLYESTER 


Polyester comes from petrochemicals, which means that virgin polyester is not a renewable resource. It is a polymer, so it’s made up of many monomers bound together to make the fibre. The material is very durable, tear-proof and abrasion resistant, though it can be prone to pilling. It is designed to absorb moisture but not retain it which makes it ideal for activewear garments. Its properties also make it useful for long-lasting outerwear pieces.

RECYCLED POLYESTER *


Recycled polyester produces fewer CO2 emissions than virgin polyester, and it doesn’t require new petroleum to create. It takes something previously treated as waste and gives it a new use – from pre-consumer sources like the fibre production of virgin polyester, or post-consumer sources like PET bottles. We use this recycled material in woven blouses and dresses, and in the lining for many of our suiting and outerwear pieces.

THERMOLITE™


Thermolite™ is a thermally insulating fibre that is used in place of down – most commonly in winter coats and jackets like parkas and puffers. It is made of polyester fibres that are designed with a hollow core in order to replicate the insulating properties of down. We often use Thermolite™ on winter styles that can be designed with a mono-material: when a garment uses only one material throughout, such as polyester, it can be fully recycled much more easily than other garments.

VISCOSE*


Viscose is a regenerated semi-synthetic fibre made from wood pulp, and was originally developed as a replacement to silk. It’s a sensitive fabric that is comfortable to wear, easy to wash, and retains colour well over time, but it can be prone to shrinking if not cared for properly. As with other semi-synthetic materials, it is important that the raw materials and the processing are managed and controlled. We aim to use certified viscose so we can trace the raw materials to managed forests and have the assurance that the fibre is processed in a safer way. Multiple types of certified viscose are used in our products: Enka comes from Swedish trees, while Lenzing™ and Svilosa come from trees in Europe, the Americas and South Africa. Ecovero™ viscose from Lenzing™ is a certified viscose that has improved the production process to use less water and have lower emissions compared to traditional viscose fibre processing. Viscose is used throughout our collections in dresses, blouses, and mixed into fabric for suiting.


LEATHER

Leather comes from the tanned raw hides of animals – most commonly cows, goats or lambs. The tanning process is essential as it preserves and strengthens the hides as well as making them more supple and pliable for a garment. At Filippa K, all of our leather is a byproduct of existing food production and is of EU origin. Our leather is tanned within the EU at tanneries which are members of the Leather Working Group. The two most common methods of tanning are vegetable tanning and chrome tanning.

Vegetable tanning is organic and chemical-free, uses bark from mimosa trees for treatment, and is the original method of treating animal hides. Compared to chrome tanning it is better for the environment by creating a result that is biodegradable, and it produces more natural-looking colours. It also requires greater craftsmanship, is more costly and takes longer. We aim to use vegetable tanning as much as possible, but we cannot always achieve the suppleness or the colour that our designs require and therefore we sometimes use chrome tanning.

Chrome tanning is the most common form of tanning, using a chemical called chromium III. This method is faster and less expensive than vegetable tanning, and it creates a result that is softer, stronger and more flexible. The result however is not biodegradable, nor does it age as gracefully as vegetable tanned leather. Chromium III is naturally occurring and is not considered to have a negative effect on humans or the environment. Under certain conditions chromium III can change to chromium VI, which is a dangerous form that occurs when heating resides. We use tanneries that are members of the Leather Working Group and abide by strict REACH regulations to make sure they are controlling the chromium III and recovering it properly. This protects working conditions and the environment, and ensures that chromium VI does not occur during the production.

Although the production of leather can be problematic, when produced responsibly and cared for properly it is a durable and long-lasting choice. We use it primarily in accessories such as bags and shoes and occasionally in ready to wear pieces. We strive to use the more environmentally-friendly method of vegetable tanning wherever possible, and we increase our use of it each season. 


* Leather that has been vegetable tanned is classed as a more sustainable material.

 

SWEDISH LEATHER *


We developed a new fully traceable supply chain to source leather from the meat production industry in Sweden. Starting as a way to source Swedish wool, we realised that we could also utilise this supply chain for leather garments as well. This material is organic and vegetable tanned without chemicals at Kero Leathers in Swedish Lapland – using bark from the mimosa tree. The local supply chain ensures good animal welfare and a reduced carbon footprint.


OTHER

 

CUPRO/BEMBERG™ *


Cupro (Bemberg™) has been made by Asahi Kasei in Japan for 85 years. The raw material for cupro comes from cotton linter, which is what is left behind from cotton fibre processing when the lint is removed from the seed and made into yarn. Asahi Kasei has a GRS certificate to account for the origin of the cupro fibres, as well as for their traceable production system to show that they use the fibre and processing waste to generate power. The material is soft to the touch, with many functional properties. It controls moisture and stays breathable, making it temperature-regulating year round (warm in the winter, cool in the summer). The consistency of the fibre is able to absorb dye well, meaning the colour stays vibrant for longer. Cupro is used in the lining of some of our products such as suiting and outerwear. We also use it in woven pieces like dresses and shirting. 

DOWN


Down comes from the soft underfeathers of duck or geese. These feathers are lightweight, fluffy, and have insulating properties – they create tiny air pockets that trap warm air, retaining the heat of the wearer. Down is incredibly resilient and can withstand being compacted many times without losing its loft or ability to fluff. The down we use is certified from farm to supplier – it comes from animals that have been treated humanely and are a byproduct of the food industry. Our down has a high fill power which is not always possible with synthetic or recycled fibres. The fill power indicates the quality of the down by measuring the loft that occurs when the clusters of feathers are fully expanded. A high quality down jacket should have a fill power rating of at least 550, offering a higher level of warmth and comfort. This allows our parkas, puffers and other winter outerwear to have a higher level of performance and longer lifespan.

LINEN


Linen come from the cellulose fibres in the stalk of the flax plant. It is planted with a seed and harvested within about 100 days, when the plant is blooming with green leaves and flowers. Flax requires very little water, pesticides or maintenance, and can grow well in most types of soil regardless of quality. The linen that comes from flax is strong, naturally moth resistant, and stays cool in warm temperatures. The loose structure of linen gives it a relaxed look and breathable feel. It holds colour well which provides it with a lustrous shine. We use linen in a variety of pieces throughout womenswear and menswear, especially in spring and summer collections. Its light weight makes it a ideal for shirts, tees and trousers.

RECYCLED CELLULOSICS *


Recent technology has enabled cotton, viscose, and lyocell textiles (either pre- or post-consumer) to be recycled into new fibres. These new fibres are recycled cellulosics, as they are processed and have similar properties to existing cellulosic fibres like viscose or lyocell. Being able to create these recycled cellulosics from existing textile waste reduces our reliance on new resources, and fabrics made from these recycled cellulosic fibres are recyclable and biodegradable.

SILK *


Silk is a biodegradable, natural filament fibre that has a luxurious feeling and is a more sustainable choice. It’s a renewable resource that requires minimal chemicals, water and energy – silkworm cocoons are spun into silk fibres, which are then used to produce the fabric. Although silk is a durable material, it is also sensitive to abrasion, light, perspiration and static. It is lightweight, soft to the touch and moisture-absorbing, which allows the wearer to feel cool in high temperatures and warm in low temperatures. When cared for properly, it can retain its qualities and last a long time. We use silk in woven pieces such as dresses, blouses, trousers and shorts.