Linen is a strong, breathable and widely used fiber in the fashion industry. A huge part of summer collections are made of this material because of its absorbent and breathable qualities. Linen has a special place in my closet. I wear it through the whole year and have been a fan of its aesthetic for years.

Linen has been produced in The Netherlands for centuries. In the past a fully stocked linen closet represented wealth and was a respected craftsmanship to create linen goods. But in the 1970’s and 1980’s the production was moved to East Asian countries where it was produced and sold at the lowest price possible. Therefore the linen production in The Netherlands has been vanishing rapidly.

“I placed myself in the shoes of a linen farmer”

I knew very little about the production process of linen. Therefore I placed myself in the shoes of a linen farmer. By doing so I wanted to experience and understand the energy, effort and care that goes into the production of linen. Next to that, I wanted to see if the linen production could be reintroduced to The Netherlands in an eco friendly manner.

To answer this question I ordered linen seeds and on the 5th of May I sowed the seeds on my balcony. I am very curious to see how long it takes to see progress and if it is at all possible to grow linen on my balcony.

5 May 2020 
12 May 2020
19 May 2020

28 May 2020
2 June 2020
6 July 2020

After the linen reached its maximum height at the end of July and stopped watering and taking care of it. By doing so the linen was drying out naturally and at the beginning of September I harvested it. It is hard to calculate how many buckets of linen I would have to grow on my balcony for one t-shirt.

However, I found the artist called Takahiro Hasegawa who works with a similar approach. Hasegawa sowed a field of linen that is exactly the amount that he needs for a single t-shirt. It gives the viewer a better perspective to understand the amount of raw materials and resources that needs to be produced for only one t-shirt.

The Linen Project is currently researching ways to introduce linen production to The Netherlands. It is a hands- on approach and research about current possibilities to produce locally. 

25 September 2020