Linen is a sustainable summer wardrobe fashion garment.
The fabric has gone from being trendy to out-of-fashion and then back to being fashionable, creating a cycle of trends.
Initially used only for making bed sheets and home furnishings, the soft and breathable fabric is centuries old.
Trendy teens wore it unbuttoned and knotted on their midriffs while people relaxing at the poolside donned it over their swimwear as boyfriend-style shirts for cover up, in the 1990s. As a result, linens became a staple for summer holidays.
Soon afterwards, the elderly donned two-piece linens (loosely-fitting trousers and shirts) on their holidays to keep them cool. Benevolent dads adopted linen as an edgy trend yet practical style for their vacations – does Mamma Mia’s Colin Firth ring a bell?
Online linen searches, according to Lyst, a global fashion search platform, have increased consistently by 46% between January and May, 2019.
What is Linen, its Origins and where is it Made?
Linen is an aesthetic fabric made from the flax plant, explaining its sustainability. This makes the gem rare in the culture of fast-fashion that’s quickly harming the planet through fabric waste.
The fabric is made from all the components of a flax plant. This reduces waste and makes linen one of the fashion industry’s most biodegradable fabric. The resiliency of flax plants allows them to grow in poor soil and utilize less water (this is unlike cotton).
Flax, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, requires 13 times less pesticide than potatoes. However, flax makes up just 1% of apparel fiber used worldwide.
The manner in which linen is made renders it durable, hence a good investment for the fashion industry and thus end consumers. Unlike cotton, it’s more sustainable and can last a lifetime.
Linen is used to make:
- Bedding – bed sheets and pillow cases.
- Apparel – dresses, night gowns, pants, vests, underwear, lingerie, pants, blazers, skirts, dressing robes, and jackets.
- Industrial use for making painting canvases.
- Homeware – table clothes, napkins, bath towels, and hand and kitchen towels.
The use of linen for making clothes dates back to 4500 BC.
Linen has its origins in ancient Egypt, making it one of the oldest materials used to make clothes. It was also used in the west to manufacture bedding and undergarments because it was easy to wash.
Archeological data shows that linen was also used in Western Europe by European powers, Ancient Greece, ancient Mesopotamia, and the lakefronts of Switzerland. The Neolithic people of Europe also used linen over 36,000 years ago.
Even so, and despite fabric technological advancements over many centuries, linen is still made from flax plant and through the spinning process, just like the early man (our ancestors).
Clearly, linen hasn’t changed in patterns as seen on the world’s oldest dress. China is the largest linen producer. Other places where linen is made include:
- The United States of America
The timeless fabric in classic styles is a sure way to future-proof your wardrobe and prepare for the new season. Here’re a few reasons this age-old fabric is all the rage in fashion right NOW, especially when temperatures rise:
6 Reasons Linen is a Great Fabric for Fashion
- Linen is a sustainable fabric
Linen is a renewable and sustainable fabric, making it friendlier to the environment than synthetics such as polyester. Moreover, unlike other natural materials like cotton, it requires less water for growth and allows for long-lasting use due to its durability.
Additionally, linen absorbs up to 20% of its moisture-based weight and doesn’t feel sodden.
The fabric is prone to wrinkles, but that shouldn’t be an issue because people tend to buy pre-scuffed shoes or distressed denim.
Factors driving popularity in linen as a sustainable material include:
- Increased awareness
- Reduced water wastage and carbon foot print
- Linen is also breathable, comfortable, wicks moisture, absorbs sweat, and controls temperature in summer for an airy feeling. Linen fabric is also popular for its ability to keep people cool in summer.
- The fabric is durable and withstands many washes for clothes that last longer than those made from other fabrics.
- Linen fabric easily absorbs dyes and is versatile enough to be customized into different yet stylish clothing.
- Linen clothing is easy to care for because the fabric is machine washable and can be tumble dried. They don’t require ironing. You can also hand wash and sundry linen clothing.
- Linen is lightweight and takes up less space in luggage, making linen clothing ideal for travel.
The Best Seasons/Climates/Occasions for Donning Linens
Spring and summer are the best seasons for wearing linens. Hot and humid climates are also ideal for linen clothing because they’re breathable, moisture-wicking and airy.
The versatile nature of linen makes it ideal for beachwear, city wear, travel ear, wrap wear, and even occasion wear. The best occasions for linen attires include:
- The office
- Brunch scenes
- Friday night outings
- Romantic dates
- Family luncheons over the weekends
Some Linen Trends
Whichever way you decide to wear your linens this summer, you’re bound to look great and stay cool. Consider these linen trends:
- Simple chic linen pieces such as crop tops or shirts paired with grungier outfits for a more playful look.
- A linen skirt paired with a band T-shirt and a bumper sandal for a stylish, glam look.
- A linen dress accessorized with designer heels and bonkers earrings for a casual occasion.
The natural, lightweight and breathable properties of linen makes it ideal for making all kinds of clothing for both men and women. Ranging from tunics to shirts and pants, the list of things made from linen is endless. Colored and well-cut linens are perfect for spring and summer wear.