Acetate fabric is a synthetic fiber derived from wood pulp or cotton liners, processed into cellulose acetate. Known for its luxurious feel and shiny appearance resembling silk, acetate has good draping qualities, making it suitable for elegant garments like eveningwear and lingerie. However, it tends to shrink and wrinkle, requiring careful handling. While breathable and moisture-absorbent, acetate's environmental impact, involving chemical processing, raises sustainability considerations. Its use has declined in recent years, but it is still employed in applications such as linings and specific fashion items.


History of Acetete Fabric

Cellulose acetate, the material used in acetate fabric, has a history dating back to the late 19th century when chemists like Charles Cross pioneered its production. Commercial use flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, driven by its silk-like appearance and affordability compared to natural silk. It found applications in textiles, particularly for garments, and in the film industry for photographic and movie films. Challenges like shrinkage and wrinkling, coupled with the rise of superior synthetic fibers, led to a decline in its popularity from the 1960s onward. Despite reduced use in textiles, cellulose acetate persists in modern applications, including linings, lingerie, eyewear frames, and industrial uses.



  • Textiles: Cellulose acetate is used in the production of acetate fabric, a type of synthetic fiber. While its use in everyday clothing has diminished over the years, it is still employed in specific fashion applications such as linings, lingerie, and some specialty garments.
  • Film Industry: In the early to mid-20th century, cellulose acetate played a significant role in the film industry. It was used for photographic film, movie films, and X-ray films. However, the advent of digital technology has largely replaced cellulose acetate film in these applications.
  • Eyewear Frames: Acetate is commonly used in the production of eyewear frames, including sunglasses and prescription glasses. Its versatility allows for the creation of various shapes, colors, and patterns.
  • Cigarette Filters: Cellulose acetate is a common material for cigarette filters. Its properties make it suitable for filtering out some of the harmful substances in cigarette smoke.
  • Industrial Applications: Beyond consumer goods, cellulose acetate finds use in various industrial applications. It can be employed in the production of certain types of packaging, adhesives, and industrial films  

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of cellulose acetate involves extracting cellulose from natural sources like wood pulp, followed by purification to remove impurities. The purified cellulose undergoes acetylation, a chemical reaction involving acetic anhydride and acetic acid, which introduces acetyl groups and transforms the cellulose into cellulose acetate. Hydrolysis follows to adjust the degree of substitution, influencing the material's properties. The resulting cellulose acetate is then shaped and, in the case of fibers, may undergo melt spinning. Additional finishing processes are applied for specific applications, such as molding and polishing for eyewear frames. Variations exist among manufacturers, and environmental considerations play an increasingly significant role in cellulose acetate production.


Environmental Properties

  • Renewable Source: Cellulose acetate is derived from natural sources such as wood pulp or cotton linters, which are renewable and biodegradable.
  • Biodegradability: In its pure form, cellulose acetate is biodegradable, meaning it can break down naturally over time under the right conditions, reducing its impact on landfill waste.

  Challenges and Environmental Concerns:

  • Chemical Processing: The production of cellulose acetate involves chemical processes, including acetylation and hydrolysis, which may use chemicals and solvents. The environmental impact of these chemicals can be a concern, especially if not managed properly.
  • Energy Intensive: The manufacturing process, particularly the acetylation step, can be energy-intensive, contributing to its environmental footprint. Companies adopting energy-efficient practices can help mitigate this impact.
  • Shrinkage and Wrinkling: The properties of cellulose acetate, such as its tendency to shrink and wrinkle, may impact its overall sustainability. Frequent washing and ironing to address these issues can increase energy consumption and contribute to environmental concerns.


Brands Using Acetete Fabric

1. Stella McCartney: Stella McCartney stands as a trailblazer in the realm of sustainable luxury fashion, seamlessly integrating eco-friendly materials, including acetate, into her designs. Demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility, Patagonia extends its sustainable practices to its clothing line, employing materials such as organic cotton and recycled acetate in the creation of specific products.


Manufacturers Using Acetete Fabric

1. Grafix Plastics: Established in 1965 and headquartered in the USA, Grafix Plastics stands out as a premier supplier of top-tier plastic film and sheet products, providing comprehensive materials conversion services across diverse markets such as aerospace, medical, office supply, printing, and sign fabrication. Boasting an extensive range of plastic film and sheet options, including acetate, vinyl (PVC), HDPE, polypropylene, and nylon, the company offers a variety of thicknesses and finishes. Setting itself apart through customization services, Grafix Plastics excels in multi-layer lamination, finishing, packaging, coating, and recycling. Their versatile products find applications in diverse fields, including artificial turf, baking and chocolates, surface protection, lighting, and retail display solutions.

2. Mazzucchelli 1849 S.P.A.: Founded in 1849 and located in Castiglione Olona, Italy, Mazzucchelli 1849 S.p.A. stands as a prominent Italian manufacturer specializing in cellulose acetate production. The company boasts expertise in processing diverse polymeric materials, encompassing cellulosic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Their comprehensive product line includes cellulose acetate sheets, granules, and high-quality decorative films, featuring recycled and bio-based options derived from renewable resources. These versatile offerings find applications in various markets, spanning eyewear, fashion accessories, and interior decoration, as well as in the safety, sports, and automotive industries. Mazzucchelli 1849 S.p.A. continues to uphold its legacy as a leading innovator in the field.


News and Updates on Abaca Fabric

Renewcell and Eastman Collaborate to Develop Sustainable Naia Renew ES Yarns from Circulose 100% Recycled Feedstock

Renewcell, a Swedish company, has entered into a collaboration with leading US cellulosic acetate fiber producer Eastman to develop Naia Renew ES yarns sourced from Circulose, a 100% recycled textile raw material. This marks Renewcell's first agreement with a US-based fiber producer and signifies a crucial step in creating acetate-based applications using Circulose feedstock. The partnership aims to accelerate the introduction of Naia Renew ES yarns derived from Circulose into the market, promoting circular fashion. Circulose, a unique material, is 100% recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, and of virgin-equivalent quality, made from textile waste.

Where Acetate Can Be Sourced

United States

Standards Related to Acetate

ISCC Plus certification