Flax, which linen is made from, is extremely versatile and cost effective. Every part of the flax plant has traditionally been used to create a worthwhile product—nothing is wasted. A common byproduct of flax is linseed oil, which is great for wood preservation, especially in varnishes, and flaxseed oil is also rich in omega 3! According to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, “across its lifecycle, a linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water” compared to 2,700 litres for a cotton shirt.
Linen naturally doesn’t need pesticides and it needs a limited amount of fertilizers or irrigation, so typically, it is clean to grow. Linen can be called ‘organic’ only if it is grown or registered to an organic land with organic techniques. According to the 2017 Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, bast fibers are the second most sustainable out of all the natural fabrics, after wool.
Linen - when untreated - is one of the most biodegradable, strong and naturally moth resistant and antibacterial fabrics, getting softer with every wash. Its natural colours include ivory, ecru, tan, and grey.