EcoTextiles

LETS TALK LINEN - One of the most sustainable fabrics by Emma Wunrow

Linen is a natural fiber made from the flax plant. It’s breathable, lightweight, soft, luxurious, and… one of the most environmentally sustainable fabrics. It doesn’t require any pesticides and every part of the plant is used. Linen is organic, biodegradable, and recyclable.

Fast Flax Facts!

  • The word linen is derived from the Latin for the flax plant, which is linum, and the earlier Greek linon. Linen is one of the world's oldest fabrics.

  • Mummies have been found wrapped in linen shrouds dating as far back as 4500 B.C.

  • Flax yarns and fabrics increase about 20% in strength on wetting.

Linen has become a favorite eco-friendly material recently, and for good reason. It’s been lauded for hundreds of years due to its durability.

As a fabric it’s breathable, durable, lightweight, absorbent, antimicrobial, moth-resistant, and cool (as in it lowers your body temperature in summer, as opposed to cotton). In terms of sustainability, it requires far less water than cotton and doesn’t require any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. ALSO, It's biodegradable, too.

Conventional linen is processed into fiber from the raw flax crop through a process of water-retting. This involves soaking the flax crop in rivers or waterways, and results in a high amount of pollutants making their way into the waterways. These include residual agro-chemicals, as well as natural waste.

Linen plant harvesting

Linen plant harvesting

There are more eco-friendly methods of processing. These are dew-retting and enzyme-retting.  These processes turn the raw crop into fiber while avoid(ing) the water pollution associated with the water-retting process.

Linen is expensive because it's hard to weave. Linen fiber is inelastic and easy to break in the production process, that's why its cost of production is higher than most other fabrics.

Cotton can be quite soft and silky straight out its packaging, whereas linen tends to be slightly stiffer. When washed and cared for correctly cotton fabric will last around 3-5 years, before showing signs of wear. Linen fabric, however, becomes better with age - it is really only starting to shine after 3 years of usage.

Given how quickly it will dry, and its tendency to shrink when exposed to heat, air drying is your best bet when it comes to your linen clothes.

Fighting with Linen for the most sustainable fabric is the one and only, hemp. Often misunderstood. Hemp is the most versatile plant on the planet. It is the only plant that can nourish you, clothe you, create paper materials for you, and provide you with natural beauty products.

Like linen, hemp is breathable, warm, moisture-wicking, antibacterial, and can be easily blended. It’s a very durable fabric that becomes softer with washing and wear, and it’s biodegradable at the end of its life. Beyond that, the hemp plant doesn't require a lot of water, and it can produce two to three times more fiber per acre than cotton. It actually replenishes the soil it grows in rather than extracting its nutrients. From a sustainability perspective, linen and hemp are the best options we have for fabric.

I decided to pick mostly linen clothing pieces from Gudrun’s spring 2019 collection and the quality is outstanding. The above photo displays a knitted tunic that is 100% linen. (Bonus: It has pockets!) This breathable tunic has the most incredible drape and is completely breathable. Intrigued? Click here

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Another one of my favorites from Gudrun’s spring 2019 collection is the “Artist’s Blouse” pictured above. It has beautiful embroidery details on the pockets and sleeves and is, you guessed it! 100% Linen! See the blouse here

Gudrun uses a brilliant sustainability standard and marks each piece online with a specific ‘eco-label’, so the consumer can immediately tell how environmentally sustainable each article of clothing is in which they are buying.

See below for a quick overview of the eco icons used for each Gudrun style
If you want to see more of Gudrun’s Eco labelling click here

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Spring 2019 Simplicity & Feeling Catologue: Olives, Lemons, and Lyocell! by Emma Wunrow

The powerful first images in the new Spring 2019 catalogue include models posed in front of a 2000 year old olive tree in Greece. Reflecting such an ancient entity in eco friendly textiles, speaks to me on a much higher level. I personally love when nature directly influences textiles, especially when both the print inspiration and the fiber and dye content are completely eco-friendly.

Though I am constantly in awe of Gudrun’s “Green Inspiration”, pairing the olives and the lemons strikes us Gudrun girls with visuals of long summer days eating aromatic Mediterranean salads. It is especially comforting to experience these visuals, while the temperature steadily drops below zero here in Minnesota. The sunny visuals really give us hope and inspiration in the depths of winter.

While the olives and lemons are both beautifully printed or knit, it is of equal importance to me to know and understand the fiber content and how it impacts our environment. The tunics, for instance, are knit with an eco cotton and lyocell blend. Lyocell is an interesting fiber made of the cellulose in wood pulp. It is an economical fiber in both its use of energy and natural resources. It has a completely green process in which all solvents and emissions used to create the fiber are 100% biodegradable. Not only is Lyocell completely biodegradable, it is also durable, moisture absorbent, antibacterial, extremely soft, and great for sensitive skin. On the other hand, Viscose, Rayon, and Modal all use caustic soda to dissolve plants into pulp for fiber, while Lyocell uses an organic compound that is completely non-toxic.

This was a sneak preview into Gudrun’s 2019 Spring catalogue which will be available to subscribers soon!

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