Liven up with linen

The ‘hottest’ fabric of the season has arrived


Nisthula Nagarajan

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Published: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 10:33 PM

Let’s get lit with linen!

No, we’re not talking about your bedsheets and duvets; we’re talking about the latest fashion trend that’s hit the racks worldwide.

The most sustainable fabric is finally getting its moment in the spotlight. Ethical fashion is always in trend and linen is fundamental to it. Comfortable, easy, stylish — there isn’t much that’s wrong with linen. Linen has been a slow burn in a fickle fashion industry, but more labels are loving and incorporating it.

Trends show that linen is geared to become the fabric for Spring/Summer 2021 because it represents the answer to two fashion trends: sustainability and the athleisure look.

Why go for it?

Linen is made from flax, which is a regenerative crop that enriches the soil. A linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water. To compare, it takes 26 litres for a cotton shirt. Another perk — unlike your winter jumpers, linen won’t be sitting in your wardrobe for half the year as it can be worn comfortably all year round, especially in this region.

Linen’s fibres are extremely durable, which means that while purchasing linen can be a splurge, it will be worth the quality. During these trying times, linen also comes to the rescue with its anti-bacterial properties. Plus, it doesn’t require as many washes as other fabrics. It is also a plastic-free fabric so no microplastics are washed into the sea.

Love your linen

Washing: Linen is a sturdy material that can be machine-or hand-washed. There are, however, a few things to know about caring for linen that are different from how you’d wash other natural fabrics. Linen tends to shrink. For that reason, only wash linen in cold water, which also avoids fading, with mild detergent on a gentle cycle. Wash it along with other lightweight fabrics. Over handling can cause damage. If you hand wash, avoid wringing the fabric. Also, avoid fabric softener, and never use bleach. If you need to brighten up light-coloured linen clothes, use an oxygenated bleach. When colour does fade over the years, use a fabric restorer.

Drying: One of linen’s finest qualities is that it’s fast drying. Given how quickly it will dry, and its tendency to shrink when exposed to heat, air drying is your best bet. If you do choose to machine dry, use a low- or no-heat setting. When air drying, either lay the garment flat on a towel or use a drying rack.

Ironing: Whether to iron your linen clothing or not really depends on the individual garment and how, when and where you plan to wear it. For the best results, press the shirt straight out of the wash while it’s still damp or, if the piece is already dry, dampen it by spraying water or specialised linen spray. Use a medium- to high-heat setting on the iron and press only until the wrinkles are removed. If you want your linen clothes to stay pressed for the duration of wear, you can use spray starch for a crisper look. If the garment has become creased, lightly spritz the creased section with water, lay the item flat, smooth it with your hands and allow to air dry.

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