King & Allen celebrate: Linen

History

Linen is one of the first products known to civilised man, dating back 30,000 years. As well as clothing, it was used for sails, rope, fishing nets, linseed oil and even currency. Indeed, the Latin for flax (the plant from which it is extracted) is linen usitatissimum (extremely useful!).

Linen garment from a tomb at Thebes, Egypt (c. 1350 BC)

Linen garment from a tomb at Thebes, Egypt (c. 1350 BC)From a tomb in Kom-el Ahmar, Egypt.

Linen is also extremely hard-wearing: when the 3000 year old tomb of Rameses II was discovered in 1881, the pure linen wrappings were in a state of perfect preservation.

Cultivation

The reason linen dates back so far is the ease with which it can be processed. You pick the stem of the tall, reed-like flax plant – which can be found growing naturally across the Mediterranean region and central Asia. You soak it in water, and when the outside stem rots away you are left with long soft fibres that can easily be woven.

Ancient Egyptians harvesting flax (by pulling, not cutting). From a tomb in Kom-el Ahmar, Egypt.

Ancient Egyptians harvesting flax (by pulling, not cutting). From a tomb in Kom-el Ahmar, Egypt.

Although flax thrives on poor soil, cultivating good quality flax is expensive, as the crop must be pulled, not cut, so the work is predominantly done by hand. Furthermore, flax can only be grown on the same field twice before an interval of seven years is required.

Qualities

Linen has the ability to absorb and lose water extremely easily, which means it will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Indeed, it can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp, cooling as it dries – making it the perfect suit material for hot, humid and dry weather.

Linen – the perfect cloth for summer suiting

Linen – the perfect cloth for summer suiting

Maintenance

If you look after a linen suit it will last extremely well, as the cloth itself is extremely hardy.
Linen is relatively easy to maintain as minor stains will steam out. As with all suits, linen suits should be dry cleaned as seldom as possible, but this is more to do with damaging the construction of the suit than the linen itself.

Although linen creases easily, this makes the cloth more recognisable and adds to its personality. As it is, a decent steam will get rid of most creases quickly and easily.

The South Pacific Pure Linen Collection

The South Pacific Pure Linen Collection

For more information about the huge range of linens King & Allen have in stock, please get in touch.

Call 0800 0274430 or contact us here for more information about King & Allen. We have fitting locations in London: Liverpool St, Savile Row; Nottingham; Leeds; Wilmslow and Surbiton. We also have a new store in Amersham.

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