During the 2020 Tmall Baby Products & Parenting Summit and the Golden Baby Awards Ceremony held in Hangzhou, China, on May 21, 2020, a new innerwear fabric containing Eastman Naia™ cellulosic fiber — co-developed by Eastman and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s new manufacturing platform Tmall Xiyou — made its debut, aiming to boost product updates of China’s five leading children’s wear brands to better meet consumer needs.

Representatives at Tmall Xiyou event

Edmund Lu(1st from right), commercial director of Eastman textiles in Asia Pacific, and Zhang Shuai (2nd from left), chief operations officer of Alibaba’s new manufacturing platform Xiyou, together with representatives from five brands during the event

Alibaba used analytics to identify consumer’s pain points and potential needs of children’s clothing that are in direct contact with skin. The results showed that with increasing attention to fabrics and materials, traditional fabrics cannot fully satisfy consumers in terms of skin friendliness and function. Because the properties and value propositions of Naia™ align with consumer needs, Alibaba strategically collaborated with Eastman on Tmall innerwear fabrics.

Through their new manufacturing platform, Xiyou, Alibaba has partnered with Eastman to make full use of the company’s upstream and downstream advantages and resources, jointly building an efficient supply chain from spinning to brand application. Through Alibaba’s data forecasts, it helps brands timely respond to fast-changing consumer needs and empowers product innovations.

The choice to use Naia™ only made sense because it is a fully traceable, biobased fiber that is responsibly sourced from sustainably managed pine and eucalyptus forests and plantations. Naia™ also has three key attributes that are needed in innerwear fabrics: skin friendliness, quick-drying ability, and durability.

The inherent softness of Naia™ staple fiber endures multiple washes, providing a soft and comfortable feel every time it touches the skin. Naia™ has received the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certification as a Class I product, which means it can be safely used in any textile that has skin contact with infants and children. The natural cellulosic structure of Naia™ staple fiber consistently improves dry rates up to 30% (test method: Intertek, AATCC 201) stay cool. And when blended with other materials, Naia™ consistently reduces pilling even after extended wear and repeated washes.

“Naia™ cellulosic staple fiber is a new, versatile, eco-conscious material choice that Eastman officially launched at Première Vision-Paris in February this year,” said Edmund Lu, commercial director of Eastman textile in Asia Pacific. “The properties of Naia™ staple fiber have great potential for children’s wear fabric. We are looking forward to this strategic cooperation with Alibaba’s new manufacturing platform.”

“By sharing forward-looking insights and offering new authoritative analysis based on the trending model, Xiyou empowers flexible reorders through the quick-responding supply chain and helps brands make fabrics that become all the rage,” said Zhang Shuai, chief operations officer of Xiyou. “With skin friendliness, softness, and quick drying properties, Naia™ fiber is very much in line with consumer demands for children's wear.”

As part of the partnership, Tmall targeted five of China’s leading children’s wear brands to launch products containing Naia™ staple fiber, including Minibalabala, Annil, MQD, First Give, and Nanny McPhee.