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The entire world wears linen, France grows it

Flax crops for summer 2024 look very promising

The entire world wears linen, France grows it Flax crops for summer 2024 look very promising

It was during the Première Vision trade show, an event reserved for creative & eco-responsible fashion professionals, held in Paris a few days ago that the European Flax and Hemp Alliance announced the good news. According to the European agri-industrial organization, flax crops are looking very promising for the year 2024. After stormy years for flax growers, it seems that the critical period is now behind them. This news comes at the dawn of summer, the flax pulling period (not cutting, as the fiber used to create the fabric extends from the roots to the top of the stem), when the plant has matured, and the climate is favorable. If last year production was halved, a loss caused by climate change, this year, the industry announced that the harvest should reach between 6 and 7 tons of straw harvested per hectare. A feat, considering that this harvest level was last reached five years ago and has not been matched or surpassed since.

Although legend has it that it was the Egyptians who created this lightweight fabric that is especially popular in summer, today's linen production is predominantly European. Indeed, Europe is the leading producer of flax fiber, which is mainly cultivated in France (specifically in the regions of Normandy, Hauts-de-France, and Île-de-France), Belgium, and the Netherlands. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, linen has many characteristics that make it unique and highly sought after worldwide. Firstly, it is thermoregulating, meaning it keeps you cool in summer and captures heat in winter. It is non-allergenic, does not irritate the skin, and does not retain dust mites. It is the most durable natural fiber in the world, does not pill, is difficult to tear, and even softens with each wash. This noble material also absorbs up to 20% moisture, making it suitable for many activities, including more sporty and physical ones. Moreover, it is an ecological and environmentally friendly fiber. In short, linen has everything to please.

The only downside that fabric enthusiasts might currently reproach it for: the increase in its price. Indeed, the somewhat disastrous recent harvests have caused a supply and demand imbalance. “In March, the average price - all qualities and production regions combined - of European FlaxTM fiber produced in European scutching mills (France, Belgium, Netherlands) was €9.08/kg, an increase of 55% over one year,” explains the European Flax and Hemp Alliance. However, this increase should stabilize and decrease given the promising harvests expected this summer. Many relocations of spinning mills are also planned. Indeed, the goal of achieving 100% Made in France production has pushed some companies to relocate to French territory, even prompting some of them to invest a small fortune (as the NatUp group did, spending no less than 4.4 million euros on a new spinning mill). A significant decision, which raises the number of hectares of flax cultivation to 180,000, 10% more compared to the last record set in 2020. In short, fabric lovers have nothing to worry about, this summer will be rich in flowing trousers and lightweight shirts.