So, People Have Actually Been Sleeping in Linen for Thousands of Years...
If it feels like linen is everywhere right now (beyond the pages of this website, of course) you'd be right. The natural fabric is ubiquitous right now, appearing everywhere from catwalks to interiors. We’re not complaining, the linen look effortlessly walks the line between relaxed and comfortable, yet classic and luxurious. But like most brilliant nascent trends, the linen obsession isn’t exactly new. In fact, people have been buzzing about linen for tens of thousands of years. Here’s everything you need to know about always on trend linen.
Cave men and women loved linen. True Story.
You know that saying, “as old as the pyramids”? Well, it applies to linen — and then some. In 2009, archaeologists at an upper-Paleolithic excavation site at Dzudzuana Cave in Georgia discovered flax fibers that were preserved inside pollen chambers for 34,000 years — making linen the oldest textile on record. Flax plants, that are used to create linen, were abundant at the time and were used not only as a source of food, but as a fibre to create goods. Ofer Bar-Yosef, a Harvard archeologist who helped to identify the discovery, said there was evidence that the linen fibres were braided together macrame-style and were even dyed turquoise, pink, black and gray. Yes, cave people embraced colour, too. Interestingly, the textile wasn’t used for clothing like it is nowadays. "You can make headgear, you can make baskets, you can make ropes and strings, and so on," Bar-Yosef told National Public Radio.
Linen is also the oldest prehistoric cloth to be found anywhere in the world. In 1993, archaeologists digging at a site in southern Turkey found part of an ancient tool made from an antler with a piece of white cloth wrapped around its handle. You guessed it, this well-preserved cloth, woven from flax plant fibres, was most likely linen. When radiocarbon tested, it proved to be dated at 7000 BC. Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, an ancient textiles expert at the National Museum of Ethnology at Leiden in the Netherlands, said it might not seem radical, but finding the piece of linen cloth was a huge discovery for humankind. "This is a fascinating discovery because it pushes back the date at which we know textiles were produced. Cloth is so ordinary to us that people forget how important it is in human history."
Now we’re clear on how very ancient the linen trend is, it should come as no surprise that many prominent figures throughout history — make that ancient history — were big fans. Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s remains were preserved in it (not Egyptian cotton, funnily enough), Roman general Julius Caesar preferred linen awnings and the luxurious fabric also gets a mention in the ancient Jewish Torah. Now do you believe us when we say the “linen trend” isn’t new? We rest our case.
So how is linen made, exactly?Now we’re up to speed with linen’s status as humankind’s first ever textile, it’s time to share exactly how it’s made. Linen is created from the long fibres inside the stalk of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). The beautiful and rustic look of linen? It’s due to the fibre’s “nodes” — irregular shapes are found in a cross section of the fibres and this is where the fabric can get its texture. Our advice if you’re looking to purchase linen — bedding or otherwise — is to ensure that it’s pure, 100% linen, and not a blend. This will ensure yours is is of the highest quality, durable, and in more great news, it's environmentally friendly. The flax plant requires zero pesticides for cultivation and little to no chemicals are required in the production of the linen fabric, either.
Then, there are the benefits...While it’s beautiful to look at, linen hasn’t been an enduring staple in the lives of human beings for thousands of years simply because of its appearance. The fabric is a natural temperature regulator, which means it keeps you cosy and warm when it’s cold out and cool and breezy in the warmer months. It also has moisture-wicking properties and is quick-drying — which is why it was the fabric of choice for those desert dwelling ancient Egyptians. Like your favourite bottle of shiraz, 100% French Flax Linen only becomes better — and softer — with age and it more durable than other manchesters. Plus, linen is anti-static and anti-bacterial, too. Pretty impressive, no?
If you’re thinking about trying the linen bedding trend, take it from those notable civilisations throughout history and give it a whirl.
Now that we're on the topic, this is what you need to know about thread count & GSM.