KNOW YOUR FABRICS - INTERVIEW WITH LINEN

Linen is predominantly used for making garments, bedding, household furnishings, diapers and sanitary napkins due to its “feel soft and cool” texture. It is one of the most durable and sustainable fabrics. Let’s get to know a bit more about the fabric that is used so extensively in our daily routine in the Q&As below.

 

What is linen? Where is it sourced from?

Linen is derived from the fibres of a beautiful “blue flax” plant. It is a bast fibre (comes from the stem of a plant). Flax is a rare, high quality product, representing less than 1% of the textile fibres consumed worldwide.

Linen can grow efficiently with limited or no use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.

Linen needs very little water to grow and can thrive with only rainwater. It is known to have moisture absorption without holding any bacteria and can withstand high temperatures due to which it was most suitable for tropical weather.

 

Why is linen so expensive?

Producing linen takes laborious time and requires intense manual process due to which it has become a highly priced commodity and is considered one of the luxurious fabrics.


How sustainable is linen?

 

  • According to European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, linen uses up to 6.4 litres of water to make one shirt, whereas approximately 2400 litres of water is used in the production of one cotton shirt. Since it is made from flax, linen is strong and when untreated (not dyed), it is fully biodegradable.

 

  • The Advisory Commission Report to the European Parliament stated that cultivating “flax” can have positive effects on the ecosystem diversity as it allows an ‘environmental – pause’. It retains 3.7 tonnes of CO2.

 

  • Linen can be recycled to paper and insulation materials for car industry.

 

Fun Facts!

 
25% of the American Dollar bill is made of linen due to its durability.
 
The unique properties like thermo-regulation have led many European cultures to form traditions and have linen bedsheets handed down as heirlooms. It is one of the oldest fabrics dating back to 8000BC. It could last up to three decades.

 

 

How flax cultivation causes adverse effects of processing flax and labour-intensive jobs?

 

Processing flax can involve flattening the yarns with pressure to provide enhanced natural lustre. Other treatments like wet spinning, use of water resistors, dyes, bleaches and other finishes might use up large volumes of water, energy and harmful chemicals to accelerate the process.

 

What can be done to reduce the harmful effects and adopt a more ethical approach while producing linen?

Avoiding harmful chemicals and pesticides by following RSL or organic standards of production can help go a long way in keeping up sustainability.

In case you have to use these chemicals, it is better to ensure that the workers are safe and does not harm the environment.

Water can be disposed off responsibly by recycling water waste to use it back in the process.

 

However, there is an alternative to using linen. To ensure an increased ethical practice, organic linen can be substituted with valid organic and GOTS certifications.

 

ALTERNATIVE – ORGANIC LINEN

 

  • Produce linen with the standards of GOTS or buy linen which is GOTS certified.
  • Use “Dew Retting” which is better than water or chemical retting, but takes longer.
  • Avoid using dyeing chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, ozone bleaching or enzymes. This keeps the fabric natural and 100% biodegradable.
  • Growing linen without any chemicals makes it organic! (It might take some more time, but its worth the wait as it keeps the environment in check)

 

 LINEN CERTIFICATION

 

FIND OUR FAVOURITE LINEN PICKS

Cloth and Co.

If you are looking for a contemporary lifestyle brand, which commits to making a positive impact towards empowering women, this is the right selection for you. Cloth and Co. is known for handloom process and care for the people involved in making their clothes.

 

Handloomed Linen Scarf

 

Indecisive the label

A reputed brand known for its ethical practices, high-quality product, unquestionable moral compass and expertise in elegant collections.

Explore unique and stylish range of outfits with Indecisive!

Gabriel Shorts

Lena Shirt

Bailey Blouse 

 Asha Dress

 

Follow us on Instagram to find new sustainable picks and new ethical initiatives by Thread Harvest