Clothing made out of wood? You bet!
Lyocell — commonly known as Tencel — is a cellulose-based fiber derived from dissolving wood pulp. A member of the Rayon family, this sustainable man-made fiber has a laundry list of benefits. For starters, lyocell is impeccably soft, breathable, lightweight, and you guessed it ... comfortable.
Lyocell is 100% biodegradable, and producing it requires only a fraction of the water and land resources needed to harvest conventional cotton. To be more exact, it takes just half an acre to grow enough trees for one ton of lyocell fiber, whereas conventional cotton requires at least five times as much for the same production level. Lyocell also uses less water than cotton, and has a closed loop manufacturing process, meaning over 99% of the non-toxic solvent used in the manufacturing process is recycled.
Born out of a desire to help consumers move away from a "disposable" mindset toward fashion, Esse merges elevated classics and timeless designs with social responsibility and environmental awareness. Esse's founder, Alicia Tsi strives to create beautiful investment pieces that are thoughtfully-made, while building a progressive supply chain and business model that encourages longevity, reduces waste, and promotes transparency.
All Esse products are handmade using sustainable textiles like lyocell and 100% organic cotton, as well as deadstock fabrics from designers and warehouses that would otherwise go to waste. They partner with a small batch, women-run studio in Vietnam that oversees every step of the design process — pattern drafting, sample making, grading, production. In order to ensure the integrity of working conditions and wages, Alicia visits them personally to understand the production process and build relationships.
One warm weather essential that's been lacking in my closet lately is a sleeveless top, which is easy to forget about when it's basically winter six months out of the year. But that all changed when I stumbled upon the V-Back Tank Top while scrolling through Esse's Instagram feed. This top has all the elements one could want in a foundation piece — it's cut in a classic silhouette, complete with with modern details like extended side slits and a deep-v back, it can dressed up or down, worn alone or layered — the list goes on.
I've had the chance to wear the V-Back Tank Top "in the wild" for a little over a month now, and it has been everything I could have dreamed of and more. In fact, I included this piece in my #Spring10x10 wardrobe, which lined up perfectly for two weeks spent visiting family and friends in Florida. (In case you aren't familiar with it, the 10 x 10 Challenge™ is an exercise created by the amazing Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee, and is essentially a micro capsule closet of 10 items that you work with for 10 days, trying new looks and styling your clothes in ways you might not otherwise try).
During the challenge, I threw it on with my Utility Shorts (updated version here) and Birkenstocks for a drive from Jacksonville to St. Augustine and errands, dressed it up with skinny black pants for my friend's wedding rehearsal, and then topped it off with heels and a thrifted cardigan for a busy day in the office. Needless to say, the V-Back Tank Top passed the versatility test with flying colors, and will definitely be one of my go-to pieces this summer.
One thing to note is that sizing runs small. I usually wear a medium, but after referring to the size guide and chatting with Alicia, I decided to size up to a large, and it fits perfect!
This top is currently out of stock, but will be returning this summer in a lovely clay hue! Sign up for the waitlist here.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE ESSE COLLECTION FOR SUSTAINABLY-MADE WARM WEATHER ESSENTIALS!
Huge thanks to Esse for collaborating on this post and for gifting me this lovely top! As always, all opinions are my own and I selectively work with brands that share the same values when it comes to ethical and environmental responsibility.