I start to worry every time I receive a new collection of linen saris. And why not, from my experience I have never seen my customers to be more divided in their opinion about a fabric than linen. Some absolutely love them and would grab at the latest offering within blink of an eye. Then there are some who would take a few steps back just at the mention of linen. So lets start at the basics...
What is linen
Many of us might not know this but linen is a sustainable fabric made from fibres extracted from Flax plant. Flax is grown commonly all over the world, hence the fabric is sustainable. By nature, linen is very different from cotton.
Myth 1: High Quality Linen have Higher Thread Count
In general people are unsure about this fabric and you cant blame them. The market is full with linen variants and that too at varying price points. So you will get linen at Rs 1000 and then at Rs 10000 and then at... you get the point. And you wont tell the difference by looking at them.
One of the most common selling point is higher thread count. Often you end up buying linen fabrics/sari just because you are told its of higher thread count.
But thats not always true. Linen is made up of weaving flax fibre (think dried grass strands), so by nature the strands are spaced out and the thread count will be low.
Myth 2: High Quality Linen are Smooth and do not Wrinkle
Linen is rough to start with and softens with usage. This is natural. Also linen is less elastic than cotton and gets wrinkly. Often linen is blended with cotton or similar fabric to make them smooth and less wrinkly. There is nothing wrong in there, but that should not be the reason for extra pricing. In fact blending linen reduces some of its beneficial properties.
Benefits of Linen
As linen is made up of fibre like structures, there is natural spacing between the strands. This makes linen specifically good for hot and humid weather. This makes for comfortable wearing in Indian summer.
Also linen have anti-bacterial properties and as an added advantage linen fibres are highly dyeable and takes on beautiful color when dyed.
To conclude what I said above, go for natural linen. Apart from looking classy (who can miss the natural wrinkles that linen gains over time), they have some inherent benefits. Do not fall for marketing gimmicks of high thread count etc. Always look for good weaving and craftsmanship in the products that you purchase and you will get good value for money.