This post was inspired by one of my clients. She had bad experiences with the fabrication and vowed to never purchase it again. I’m not a textile expert, but I’ve been in the fashion industry for 25 years — working as a designer, retail buyer and fashion stylist — and I’ve developed some opinions of my own.
Viscose is a semi-synthetic fibre that is neither completely natural nor man-made. It’s made by dissolving the pulp of plants like bamboo, wood, soy and sugar cane and using chemical processes to create a thread that is spun into cloth.
Viscose is NOT the same fabric as rayon. Viscose is a type of rayon with viscose content. Both viscose and rayon are semi-synthetic fibres made by combining plants and chemical processes, which is why they are thought to be the same thing. Rayon is generally a better bet than 100% viscose for reasons that will become clear in a moment.
Viscose is soft, breezy, drapey, silky and fairly affordable, which is why it’s a popular fabrication for hot weather clothing. It resembles cotton and silk, making it extra comfortable to the touch. The problem is that 100% Viscose creases extremely easily (like linen), marks easily (like brushed raw silk), and can shrink in the laundry (like wool). The fibres can also be unstable, causing the garment to lose its shape.
Viscose is, however, a good fibre to combine with other fibres because of its excellent tactile qualities. It adds a soft and silky integrity to cloth which makes a garment drape better and more comfortable to wear. For example, knitwear with a viscose content feels and looks luxurious and silky.
In short, be wary of garments made of 100% viscose because they crease and shrink very easily. But by all means wear garments with a viscose content in the fabrication because it adds a soft and silky integrity. Here are wonderful items made of fabrications with a high or low viscose content. Not too shabby, and good reviews too.