The Linen Wrap
Threading through the perpetual obsession with speed and abundance to create a piece of clothing that teaches you to slow down, have less and live more.
Clothing of today is diverse - there’s something for everyone. But often short-lived and hurled into landfills as fast as new ones are being produced. To understand why and how clothes were once cherished, we sought lessons from history.
Clothes were much simpler in the past. Attention was given to the weaving of the fabric and because it was skillfully done by hand, clothes were really just a piece of cloth over the body like the tunics and sheath dresses worn by the ancient Egyptians. They wore it for work and leisure, perverse to how it is today where there’s a style for different times of the day.
Similarly, the Japanese wore the Yukata, a casual summer kimono, that were made of cotton, linen or hemp. While its formal, silk counterparts are valued and framed for the handwork illustrating the history of Japan, the Yukata are often repaired, reworked and passed down - made possible by the hardworking fabrics used.
An entire bolt of fabric called a tan is used to make kimonos - two panels covering the body, another two panels forming the sleeves and smaller strips for the narrow front panels and collar. Proving that zero-waste design has existed for centuries, just not commonly practiced today.
What if we create a piece of clothing that sum up the lessons from the past to add value to your life?
Something that put you at ease in a busy world. That doesn’t get in the way of your movement throughout the day. That you’d want to show up and even sleep in. That you’d want to keep wearing over and over again, yet still feel like you’re wearing it for the first time. That withstands the encounters each day brings, collecting memories for many years to come.
And so we did in 2015.
Wore your kimono today. It still feels and looks good after more than two years.
- Amilia Gani
Before this flight, I was home and because I’ve KonMari-ed my wardrobe, it was easy to pick out the kimono I got from you guys two Christmases ago.
It’s my utmost favorite piece and I treasure it enough to hand down to my future children.
- Lin Shafie
Our vision for a world not driven by fast fashion and threatened by textile waste deepened with every piece we made.
100% European Linen
Throughout history linen has been the fabric of choice for its strength and comfort that comes naturally from the long fibres of the flax plant. Lasting for years and revealing its matured beauty over time.
Today, linen represents only 1% of the world’s textile production but its potential is inversely proportional to its size. Read about that here.
Not an inch wasted
We don’t see fabric as is. Every inch represents the resources used - the soil, flax plant, water, energy to power fiber machinery. And since high-quality linen still requires a great deal of hand labour, we see the people - farmers, mill operators, quality control officers.
That even when there’s burnt edges, something that would displease a common buyer, we make the best of it.
Washed before printing
Care for a little science lesson? Linen is primarily a cellulose fiber (pectins, hemicellulose, and phenolic compounds are also present). Its molecular structure allows it to form a physical bond with water and it gets more absorbent after each wash.
For a long-lasting print, washing before printing ensures the fabric holds on to our water-based ink better. Cold water, low energy cycle and no detergents - just sodium carbonate, a natural cleaning agent and effective water softener.
Linen loses water as rapidly as it absorbs which means two things. 1) You won’t feel clammy and sticky on a hot, humid day in this moisture-wicking fabric 2) You can do laundry on rainy days and dry indoors because linen dries quickly. And no, you won’t get that musty smell because its natural antibacterial and odour resistant properties have got you covered.
Not the ironing type? Iron in a jiffy just once while its still damp. Wear it, let it air dry, wear it again, air dry and repeat. The same properties that end your laundry woes enable you to wear it 2-3 times without the dreaded B.O. The more you wear it, the more you see the beauty in the creases and eventually, you don’t notice them at all because linen gets softer with each wear and wash.
Germs and dirt? The preoccupation with cleanliness is formed by marketers selling us elevated cleanliness ideals to increase business opportunities. The truth is, we’re not as dirty as those commercials portray us to be. It helps that linen is naturally dirt and stain resistant. Easy-care need not be about synthetic fabric and special treatments, this is how linen redefines it.
Minimal screen printing
We use less screens and water-based nontoxic inks so we can focus on printing with precision.
Printing by hand not only mean less water and energy consumption, but you’re wearing a piece that’s truly one of a kind.
But when constructing the finished piece, we’re extra meticulous
Instead of running the raw edges through a serger machine and leaving it exposed, we protect them from the abrasion of washing and retain the strength of the fabric. Seamlessly using reinforcement stitching and topstitching high-stress areas to form a solid spine.
It takes more time yet only need a single spool of thread rather than a standard of 4 spools in a sewing sequence.
Doing more with less is at the heart of all we do.
You may not be able to own the Linen Wrap any time soon but you can consider the practices it’s meant to cultivate.