IRISH LINEN, AN ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICE
We’ve built up a brand based on Irish Linen, we love Irish Linen, Irish Linen is our ‘thing’. In fact we are a little bit obsessed with Irish Linen.
Linen has been used as a valuable material for clothing and other needs for thousands of years BCE, making it possibly one of the world’s oldest natural fibres. Irish linen has always had a worldwide appeal throughout the ages, it’s distinctive quality being described as ‘white gold’.
With a global fashionable return to natural fibres our desirable Irish linen is an exquisite choice. Made from the cultivated flax plant (Linum usitissimum) we learnt that it’s an eco-friendly alternative to crops that use fertilisers and pesticides, making it even more attractive. It’s been compared to basically growing like a weed. Upon being sown it’s pretty much left to it’s own devices to bloom before it is carefully transformed into the most luxurious of fabrics today.
So flax grows without little, if any, help from potentially dangerous chemicals, needs only a fraction of water required in comparison to other crops and because it's a natural fibre, flax linen is also recyclable and biodegradable.
Flax is a cellulosic, annual plant that reaches to about a meter. Its fibres run the entire length of the stem and help to hold it upright. The whole plant is used making it a waste free crop - it’s fibres used to make yarn and then clothing, the seeds milled for nutritional supplement, theres it’s linseed oil, cattle cake, soap, medicine, chipboard, bank notes and even bowstrings. It’s wonderful! In the past this astonishing textile has been used for mummification, has played a vital role in both World Wars as rope, net, twine, hosepipes, sailcloth, canvas, blackout sheets, tents and even aeroplane wing sealants. It’s quite extraordinary.
Irish Linen earned a reputation for being the finest linen in the world reaching all corners of the globe but eventually its production gave way to cheaper man-made synthetic fibres typically produced in low cost countries. But it has held its own and kept its place in the luxury niche market ...and we aim to be part of its revival.
Irish Linen is still used for products today in a very traditional way, but we like to think we’ve given it a modern twist in our contemporary cushions, and by also breathing life back into the antique and vintage silks we combine it with.
We use the highest quality from light apparel weights to heavy deluxe fabrics, all extremely soft to the touch. They say 'strong as steel, soft as silk’, this is one of the benefits of using a natural fibre. Sharp, clean, structured, pristine, textured, these are just many of the words used to describe it. With a tightly pressed weave it’s usually run through rollers for that classic slight sheen too. Irish Linen looks its best when it is ever so slightly crinkled, so we encourage little ironing if any. We love using the natural shades for an earthy rustic look (the oatmeal shades simply go with everything!) and it’s just as well because these shades use less dyes and bleaching than others. Closest to its natural form, this is the way Irish Linen can best be admired for its texture and tones.
We are proud that our products are made in Belfast, traditionally the home of the linen industry. We like to support, promote and show an appreciation for other local home grown artisan brands who also make not only beautiful things but in a reasonably ethical way.
Each of our cushions produced is unique, every single one being a one-of-a-kind beauty. We have a very small team behind KL Design and employ local craftspersons keeping our products very much ‘Made in Ireland’, which is important to us. Each individual piece is thoughtfully constructed, sewn and made by hand. This process is more costly but ethical and authentic.
In a world of mass production and throw away fashions we like to slow it all down and go back to our roots. We hope to create items that will not only last but that people will cherish and want to hand down generation after generation. If treated well it can have a very long life span. It may last several hundred uses, and launderings or if only cleaned a couple of times a year then it may last decades (see our antique napkins in the Antiques Emporium section).
We try to use natural elements where we can - lining with fine 100% cotton muslin, soft bamboo wadding as a layer of backing for the fine silk scarves, using cotton threads and even to simple choices in our packaging.
We hope you like our creations.