Flax cultivated in Normandy is well known for being the best in the world. Quality is a combination of three positive factors: the availability of appropriate soil, the favourable climatic conditions and the flax growers’ know-how. The flax is sown between mid-March and mid-April. The seed is deposited uniformly to a depth of 2-3 cm, to protect it from the wind and encourage it to grow in the best condition.
Natural, elegant, European: the secret of the finest linen shirting fabric is hidden in a beautiful pale blue flower.
Albini Group chooses the linen of Terre de Lin, the largest linen cooperative in Europe, certified Masters of Linen for its origin 100% European. Linen is a fibre which is European by history and tradition. The entire process of quality linen production takes place in Europe, limiting the transportation impact and encouraging the employment of those communities that traditionally have been dedicated to the processing of this special fibre.
Linen is sustainable: it needs the know-how of generations of flax growers to assure quality. This characteristic keeps the production rooted to the territories of origin, contributing to the economic and social wellbeing of the growing areas. Terre de Lin applies a fair policy of shared remuneration of the flax growers, based on the quantity and quality of the fibres and seeds produced.
Also linen is environmentally friendly: it produces no waste since all parts are used. It does not need watering, since it is the alternation of sun and rain typical of the regions of Western Europe that cares for its growth. Insects and parasites naturally do not “attack” the flax plant and therefore it can be cultivated using just a few pesticides. One hectare of flax holds 3.7 tons of CO2 each year.
Nature, composition and architecture of the fibres give the flax excellent properties: maximum resistance, high capacity to absorb humidity, insulating and thermo-regulating properties, non-allergenic characteristics.
Consists of a single stem, the flax plant, a long and flexible herbaceous plant, can achieve approximately one metre in height. The blue flower is nothing more than a tiny capsule composed of five lobes, each of which contains 2 seeds. The stalks, containing the fibrous bundles, are arranged longitudinally, with the elementary fibres immersed in pectin. Flax is characterised by rapid growth, and its vegetation period is about 100 days.
The time of harvesting, between July and August, is among the most sensitive of the whole process of cultivation of flax: the plant must be pulled out from the land to its complete height, only in this way the maximum length of the fibre can be assured.
Once pulled out the flax is left on the ground, deliberately at the mercy of the rains that trigger the process of maceration. The decomposition is activated by humidity, wind and the mild temperatures, eliminating the ligaments of the stems allowing the fibrous bundles to be separated from the coating substances, thereby facilitating the subsequent extraction. For the retting on the ground the flax growers do not resort to any treatment, since the process is entirely natural.
Once retted, with the right degree of humidity, the plants are lifted mechanically and pressed into large bales which are identified with a label that shows the references of the field and the farmer, assuring the perfect traceability. To extract the fibres from the stalk it is necessary to scutch the plants, removing the woody residue from the centre of the stem. The longest staple fibres are hand-selected at the exit from the turbines and are classified based on their characteristics and colour. The cultivation of linen is a niche culture, representing less than 1% of the global production of textile fibres.