Henry Ford first talked of soy fibers in the 1940s and was photographed wearing the first known soy suit and tie. It wasn't until 1999 that a technological breakthrough made mass production of soybean fiber realistic and economically sound. The invention was awarded the gold prize by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2003.
Soybean fiber is a sustainable textile fiber made from renewable natural resources. It is a part of an effort to move consumers away from petrochemical textile products and to turn waste into useful products. Soy fabric is actually made from the leftovers of soybean oil/tofu/soymilk production. Through a process called wet-spinning, the protein liquids are forced through a device resembling a shower head, called a spinneret, to make liquid soy. Finally, the liquid soy is solidified to make soybean fiber. After having their protein extracted, the remaining byproducts can be used as fodder or fertilizer. All auxiliaries used in the production of soybean fiber are of a harmless nature, and they are recyclable, making soy fabric production a closed end process.
Not only is soy fabric eco-friendly, it is so incredibly soft that some people call it "vegetable cashmere". It has the same moisture absorption as cotton, but with better moisture transmission than cotton, making it more comfortable to wear. Soybean fiber has a stronger tensile strength than wool and performs almost as well as wool in terms of warmth retention.