“Linen is for tailors what marble is for sculptors: a noble material”

(Christian Dior)


Linen is the oldest and most widespread textile artefact, already used six thousand years before Christ.

The ancient Egyptians used linen fabric bandages for the pharaohs’ mummies because, even at that time, it was considered the most valuable fibre among those known. In a cave, in the Republic of Georgia, dyed flax fibres have been found, even dating back to 30,000 BC.

It is called a noble material for its excellent properties and is 100% sustainable. Resistant to wear, thermoregulatory and hypoallergenic, linen is a fabric of great beauty. With its brightness, it emphasizes colours and chromatic effects but is also fantastic in its natural shades.

While being qualitatively superior, it has higher production costs than cotton. In Europe, it represented the primary textile fibre up to the industrial revolution when it was replaced by cotton, precisely because of the greater cheapness of the latter.

Linen is a green and fully recyclable material that is among the best fibres to be used for fashion sustainability and circularity.

A top company for linen fabric production: the advice

One of the best companies for flax production is “EUROLINEN”. Established in 1992, The Lithuanian and French Private Limited company is the forming part of the SANECO Group, located in Vilnius.

They produce from seeds to fabrics and objects.

Linen fabric is sold at a higher price than other natural fibers such as cotton and hemp because it’s difficult to manufacture and less readily available. It represents less than 1% of all textile fibers consumed worldwide.

Straw is an agricultural by-product consisting of the dry stalks of the flax plant. Dressing the flax is the process of removing the straw from the fibers. The color of unspun dressed flax is pale yellowish-gray, the color of straw. Perfect white isn’t the natural color of linen. Depending on the farming and processing conditions of the flax plant, the color of natural linen can vary between: grey, sand, taupe, beige, ivory, cream, ecru.

Most dyes used in the textile and apparel industry are toxic. They have a very harmful impact on the environment. Buy linen in its natural form whenever you can. Or choose a natural organic dyeing process supported by certifications.

Retting is a manufacturing process used in the fabrication of linen fabric. Micro-organisms and moisture dissolve much of the cellular tissues of flax plants to facilitate the separation of the fiber from the stem.

Retting is one of the main factors that determine the color of natural linen.

The most widely practiced method of retting is water. Bundles of stalks are submerged in stagnant or slow-moving waters. The large majority of the dirt and coloring matter is removed by the water. The resulting color is very pale and yellowish, close to ecru.

In areas with limiter water resources, dew retting is used over two to three weeks to separate fibers with the action of sun, air, and dew. The resulting color is darker, close to grey.

Linen top and skirt - linen voile foulard
Top and skirt in linen fabric – foulard in linen voile

Fair Trade and organic linen are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the E.U. Organic Certification Agency and the Global Organic Textile Standard, and it confirms the material quality and its eco-friendliness.

As far as fashion industry is concerned, flax and its blend with other fibres (natural/man-made) is popular, and hence flax-based fashion will be discussed.

when we talk about flax fibre it is well-known in the textile industry as a linen fashion as well as formal apparel for men and women. There are many leading manufacturers of these linen-based products in the world. Different blended linen products (Basu and Dutta, 2014; Basu et al., 2006; Basu and Roy, 2008) are linen-cotton (warp cotton, weft linen; and warp cotton, weft cotton-linen blended yarn), linen-based-cotton (warp cotton, weft linen-jute or linen-ramie or linen-pineapple or linen-silk waste, etc.), linen-synthetic (warp polyester/cotton blended or polyester/viscose blended, weft linen or linen-jute or linen-cotton, etc.), and so forth. Apart from these is a huge variety from which to develop many other blended materials from linen. Elite men and women currently prefer linen-based apparel mainly for comfort in addition to its aesthetic look. Linen fibre material can absorb moisture quickly from body perspiration, which provides coolness and comfort in humid conditions when such clothes are worn. As far as the properties of the fibre are concerned, linen fibre material swells and improves in strength under wet conditions. This is why linen/flax spinning is normally preferred to be done under wet rather than dry conditions.

Apart from these apparel applications, flax fibre has wide potential in the area of industry in the form of nonwovens. Optimum blending of flax and polyester fibre to make needle-punched nonwoven fabric can replace currently used 100% synthetic nonwovens in geotextile applications

A great brand for linen fabric production: FLAX

One of the best flax apparel brand is FLAX. It adheres to regulations of the European REACH organization, which ensures that any chemicals involved in the production process have a neutral effect on the environment. With both water and chemical waste being major contributors to the polluting effect of the fashion industry, FLAX’s record reflects a credible commitment to sustainability. Even better, all of the buttons on FLAX clothing are made using the natural seeds of the Corozo Palm tree, utilizing a native substance of the earth without being exploitative. FLAX stands apart as one of the few brands that actually follows through on promises of “sustainability.” These layered efforts to create a sustainable product make FLAX an exceptional choice for fashion AND for supporting brands that protect the environment.

• Sanjoy Debnath, in Sustainable Fibres and Textiles, 2017

• Flax design

Top and skirt in linen canvas – foulard in linen voile
Top and skirt in linen fabric – foulard in linen voile