A fabric that has long been a staple of society - linen is known for keeping us cool under the beating sun. Now it is responsible for having the same effect on iNDiViDUALS’ very first community collection. As you may have guessed, this is a choice founded on sustainability, a word this community is tired of hearing as superficiality surrounds it. Our reaction is action instead of words as we take our power to inject it into the industry with a proper foundation. These days, the ultimate goal is circularity yet why does going full circle still seem so out of reach?
So Hard to Resist
Linen is one of the most biodegradable fabrics - it can exist with no traces left behind. Unfortunately, the gift of colour often comes with a price; non biodegradability but this does not have to be the case. Dyes that skip the use of heavy metals, amines and inorganic salts are automatically biodegradable - unproblematic in letting linen rest. The next barrier is the finishing and embellishments that are so hard to resist: a perfect hem, ruffle, or a pretty little button here and there. For linen to be circular these need to be gone, gone after use. This integral aspect in the eye of the creator often lacks consideration for the garment’s afterlife. So many of us are guilty of thinking: “not my problem”. But don’t panic yet, it's not too late to rework this process.
The Mama Mia Fantasy
The properties of linen set an example by embracing imperfection. The deceiving thing about imperfection is the idea that it needs to be fixed. That crisp white Mama Mia fantasy is otherwise known as the heavy bleaching process. The density of the flax fibre, the plant it’s derived from, means to get pure white linen this is unavoidable. It is safe to say that sticking to it’s range of beige-toned hues will ensure a more environmentally friendly afterlife but don't be disheartened there are plenty of damage free ways to have your pop of colour.
Let's Get to the Root of It…
Literally - linen is made from the stem of a plant. In a past life linen lived colourfully as flax blooms in a serene purple hue. The plant’s strong physical structure represents it’s moral fibre; it is resilient and thrives in soil many could not stand, using far less water than it’s cousin cotton. When it comes to natural enemies, flax has very few; meaning virtually no pesticides are required. It probably comes as a surprise that even after all of this, certifiably organic linen is rare. The fatal flaw is that most non-organic flax is grown with a salty attitude; nitrates are used that infiltrate water streams and harm our ecosystems. The sad truth is, people manipulate nature for their own convenience. Why don't we take a leaf out of linen’s book and let it be? Okay, flax doesn't have leaves, but you get the point.
The Notorious Crinkle
Then, there’s the issue with aesthetics; the notorious crinkle. No one wants the saggy nappy look but after a day at the beach with linen trousers it's often a given. To get rid of this crinkle it’s easy to resort to pulling out the iron, inevitably using unnecessary energy. Consumer care is a red area for circularity. There's no better cure for laziness than 21st century technology. With the resources we have there is always an instant solution, but that does not make it the best one. Maybe resorting to old fashioned techniques is what we need. Nothing straightens out linen like a bit of water and a refreshing air dry. Screw the iron and embrace the fabric of nature.
Every bump we face does not need to be straightened. Circularity is so hard to reach as this circle can be a little miss-shapen - a path that requires experimentation along the line.