Linen is one of the most sustainable and ethical natural materials globally.
It uses fewer resources and water compared to cotton and manufactured materials.
It can be grown organically using ancient techniques and preserves the environment.
The material is strong, making it last a lifetime and it is naturally biodegradable.
Why love linen?
Vegans love alternative superfoods like flax seeds and hemp hearts. Not only do they provide essential nutrients like omega-three fatty acids, but they also make excellent clothing, bedding, and towel materials. Linen is a well-known clothing fabric that is less commonly known to be made from flax plants that grow up to four feet tall!
It is the only natural fiber still being cultivated on a large scale! 85% of the world's linen comes from Europe, and linen is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, fabric in the world as it is known to date back to 8000BC. It was used to make mummies and battle armor!
Amazingly, linen is made from beautiful, blue-flowered flax plant fibers. And “linen” comes from the plant’s Latin name “linum usitatissimum”. People love linen, especially for bedding or summer clothing, because it can withstand high temperatures and absorb moisture without holding bacteria.
Is it sustainable?
Now that we know how cool linen is, the next question is: is it sustainable and ethical?
Linen is a natural fiber, so it is biodegradable if not dyed. The flax plant is resilient and can grow in low-quality soil and uses less water than cotton. It takes 2,700 liters of water for cotton and 6.4 liters for linen and 13 times stronger than cotton.
The UNFAO stated that flax uses 13 times fewer pesticides than potatoes. When materials are made without pesticides, the environmental damage is much less. Many pesticides and chemicals are not tested for long-term effects on human, animal, and ecological health. Because of that, it is much safer overall to choose organic materials.
The downside of linen is that most non-organic flax uses a pesticide called iterate, harming water and ecosystems. Unless it’s organic, it is hard to guarantee no pesticides used. Organic linen is more sustainable than organic cotton! Organic linen is grown using a crop rotation system, ensuring the soil is protected and the eco-systems.
With that being said, since linen is so versatile and natural, it is one of the most sustainable and ethical fibers. The bi-products of production can be used for paint, rope, and much more, making it a more sustainable production process.
The production process uses ancient techniques and far fewer chemicals than new fibers. The strength of flax makes it a much more durable fiber and thus lasts longer than fast fashion clothing, where the quality is poorer. Not only that, linen increases quality with wear and time!
Not sure where to start? There is so much linen clothing to choose from. Invest in a white or black or even pink linen dress! Maybe even linen pants and a linen jumpsuit. Linen tops are great for traveling in hot climates. There are even linen kimonos, boiler suits, face masks, and wrap dresses.
There are a lot of great clothing brands in Australia to choose from to find sustainable and ethical linen.