History of Linen


Linen is one of the first fibres that people made into string and cloth. The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgia dated to thirty-six thousand years ago suggests that ancient people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.
In ancient Mesopotamia, flax was domesticated and linen was first produced. It was used mainly by the wealthier class of the society, including priests.
In ancient Egypt, linen was also prized for it’s rarity, but other factors contributed to its value as well. Egyptians recognised its quality; linen is lightweight, resistant to insects and wicks away moisture- perfect for a hot climate. Additionally, in ancient Egyptian culture hygiene was extremely important, and linen, with its anti-microbial properties and smooth texture was considered to be a pure material. In fact, it was believed that the whiter the fabric, the purer the garment, even going so far as to call it “woven moonlight.” It was used for mummification and for burial shrouds. The use of linen for priestly vestments was not confined to the Israelites; Plutarch wrote that the priests of Isis also wore linen because of its purity.
Linen fabric has been used for table coverings, bed coverings and clothing for centuries. The significant cost of linen derives not only from the difficulty of working with the thread, but also because the flax plant itself requires a great deal of attention. In addition flax thread is not elastic, and therefore it is difficult to weave without breaking threads. Thus linen is considerably more expensive to manufacture than cotton.

Today, linen is appearing in fashion more and more for a variety of reasons. In regards to sustainability, linen just makes sense- natural fibres are better for the environment, and it is an excellent alternative to cotton. Additionally, its quality and performance give it a luxurious feel, even when being used in casual garments. The fabric has been showing up in many high-profile labels.

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