WHY DID COTTON BECOME MORE POPULAR THAN LINEN?
So, linen uses less water, less chemicals, doesn’t pollute the local environment so you would think it would be more widely used – wrong!
Linen has been around for a very long time. The discovery of dyed flax fibres, in a cave in Georgia over 30,000 years ago, suggests the use of wild flax fibres being used to create linen-like fabrics. High-quality flax is mostly grown in Ukraine and Western Europe with quality fabrics also produced in Italy, Ireland and France. Flax grows best in more temperate climates with Belgium particularly well known for quality due to climate and soil conditions. So, why did cotton become more popular than linen?
The whole linen process is extremely laborious and time-consuming, which is why it is expensive compared to cotton. Cotton’s more cost-effective production only came about in the late 1700s. Before that, linen was in everyday use. Bulk linen production now tends to come from Eastern Europe and China.
So what are the advantages of linen?
Linen is 100% natural, is biodegradable and recyclable. It is strong and durable and is actually stronger when wet than dry. It is a natural antiseptic, kills bacteria so they cannot live on it, reduces inflammation, and wounds wrapped in pure linen dressings heal quicker than those using cotton.
Linen is non-static, so no electric shocks and wearing it helps eliminate some skin diseases such as chronic eczema down to a rash.
Problems with moths? Linen is thought to naturally repel them too!
It is 30% stronger than cotton so, if cared for correctly, linen should last for decades!
Linen is great in summer or winter
If you are looking for a great all year round choice of bedding, then linen is for you. It can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter as it has temperature regulating properties. It can also absorb moisture, so you don’t wake up with the covers sticking to you instead, you will have a pleasant and fresh feeling fabric.
In terms of environmental impact, linen is streets ahead of cotton. Cotton is water wasteful and uses harmful chemicals in its production, whereas linen requires fewer pesticides or additional water, other than rainwater. Every part of the plant is used – there is no wastage!
Linen is better than cotton!
Across its lifecycle, according to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, a linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water, whereas a cotton shirt uses 2,700 litres.
A cotton shirt uses 420 times the amount of water!!!
Linen uses less water, less chemicals AND doesn’t pollute the local environment so you would think it would be more widely used – wrong!
Linen doesn’t fit with the fast fashion, mass consumption model that demands new material every day from the land damaged by overuse.
Some may be put off by the slightly crumpled look that comes with wearing linen. If you want to help slow down fast fashion; protect the environment; look after your skin better and have clothing that will actually last, then welcome to linen club!
First rule of linen club?
TELL EVERYONE ABOUT LINEN CLUB!