It’s that time of year when your social media feeds are filled with pretty summer dresses, and you start to notice and envy all the trendy looks you see people wearing on the street. You know you’re heading into the summer months as soon as the outfits change and every lightweight pastel makes you want to build a Pinterest board. We’ll tell you the secret to those summer looks you love, and it’ll change your life (and your wardrobe) forever: the ultimate summer material those fashionable strangers know about is linen.
There are thousands of reasons to love linen, especially for the warmer months; two of them you already know: it looks incredibly trendy and cool. The classic linen dress is lightweight, moisture-wicking (goodbye clothing that sticks to your sweaty summer skin), and breathable, so it flows around your body and doesn’t constrict your movements. And there’s another huge benefit of wearing linen that you might not know about: Sustainability.
Let’s go over four ways linen supports a more sustainable future for the planet. We turned to our favorite sustainable brand, Reformation, home of the cutest clothing (especially their covetable summer looks) to see sustainability in action. They are certified Climate Neutral, energy efficient, and will be Climate Positive by 2025. They’re also changing the fashion industry through their transparency and sustainable business model that’s built into everything they do. They use their internal tool, RefScale, on their website to show the environmental impact of their clothing compared to general US clothing manufacturing practices. You can also find their quarterly sustainability reports on their site.
After we go over the four benefits of linen when it comes to sustainability, we’ll share some of our favorite linen dresses from Reformation so you can see for yourself that clothing can definitely be both sustainable and cute.
More Durability Means Less Waste
There’s a reason why linen is believed to be one of the oldest materials used and is still used to this day! Linen is highly durable and lasts for years of regular use without needing to be replaced. In fact, linen grows even softer over time (and we all love that soft well-worn-in feel). And like wine, linen improves the older it gets because it retains and even increases its strength over time. Generally, the more you wear linen, the better it will feel against your body. Not many materials can say that, especially those synthetic blends that fall apart after a few washes.
It’s a Plant-Based Material Made from Flax
You might not have known that linen is made from the stalks of the flax plant. Flax is mostly grown in Europe where the soil and climate are ideal. The production of flax does not require a lot of inputs compared to most crops, like water, energy, or chemicals. The majority of water needed to grow flax comes from rainfall and the flax plant is hearty and quick growing so it doesn’t need much help from fertilizers or pesticides, which means less water pollution from agricultural runoff. Linen fabric can be processed without damaging chemicals, like those found in certain dyes, which also saves on water pollution. When compared against other high-input materials like cotton, linen is extraordinarily sustainable.
Flax Reduces the Planet’s Carbon Dioxide
More than just not adding to the planet’s pollution, the flax plant that creates linen can actually help to reduce carbon dioxide inthe atmosphere. Flax plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere at the rate of 3.7 tonnes of CO2 per hectare of land (according to the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp). Talk about a sustainable plant! What could be better than your clothing actually improving the planet in production versus simply not adding to its decline? We’re officially in love with flax.
The Entire Flax Plant Can Be Used, Meaning No Waste
Linen can be created with minimal waste because the entire flax plant is used for different purposes. Some of the scraps are commonly used for paper, yarn, insulating material, and various flax-based oils. And at the end of a linen garment’s life, it can be composted because it’s quickly biodegradable, which means zero waste. Back into the earth it goes!
So now that you’re convinced about the wonders of linen, here are a few of our favorite linen dress looks from Reformation that you can score for yourself to help make the world a better place, starting with your closet.
go out and rock some breezy summer linen styles this summer!