By New Year’s Day, most Christmas trees are sitting on the curb, destined for the dump or a compost heap. But someday your forlorn tree might get a second life as something else: Lingerie.
A French company is showing that it’s possible to turn pine trimmings into a soft fabric that can be used to make panties, bras, or slips. The new fabric was the brainchild of an architect who originally wanted to find another use for tree trimmings that couldn’t be used in construction.
After the wood is transformed with an enzyme bath, it feels like silk. “It’s soft to the touch,” says designer Sophie Young, founder of Do You Green. “You won’t want to wear anything else after touching it. It’s very smooth and thin.” The fabric helps naturally regulate temperature, so someone won’t sweat while wearing it, and it’s also naturally anti-bacterial.
Like other wood-based fabrics–say, bamboo–pine does require chemical processing to turn into fabric. But Young claims her process is as environmentally friendly as possible, and because it’s made in France, follows strict French environmental regulations.
“Of course you can’t transform a tree into fabric without using something,” she says. “If we are wearing lingerie it must be very thin, very comfortable. But the process is natural because of using a lot of enzymes. And you must remember that even something like cotton can’t have colors without chemical processing.”
The fabric is certified with the Oekotex label, which guarantees that it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. “The priority for us is the skin,” Young says. “We don’t have dangerous chemicals in the fabric which can go into the skin and into the body.”
And, of course, it’s made from a renewable raw material that might otherwise go to waste. Though Young focuses on the construction industry, it’s a process that could eventually also be used to harvest the trees lining U.S. streets after the holidays.