Linen is an ancient fabric. Not only Indians, but the Egyptians and Greeks were fans of pure linen, draping it on themselves to stay cool.
Linen never went out of fashion. Nor will it. Its structure and texture makes it versatile, but also quite apt for warm climates where light, easy-to-breathe fabrics are preferred.
It's made from the flax plant, which grows thoughout the world, including India. Flax is a tough plant, however, to convert into a fabric. It needs to be harvested carefully, pulling the stalk from its root, which is traditionally been done by hand. It’s then dried naturally in the sun before the seeds are removed and the fibers are separated. All in all, it's a tedious, time-consuming process that can take months. Once the softer, longer fibers are procured, it's woven into linen.
Linen today is making a comeback. It’s eco-friendly, natural, and a long-lasting material, making it a wise investment.
The linen napkins, shown here, are accentuated with metallic hand stitched embroidery, done by artisans in small studios in Delhi. Countless textile studios are clustered together in Delhi’s industrial corner. Both female and male artisans sit alongside each other, stitching details on the fabrics.
Given Delhi’s cultural prominence, it’s a center of commerce and creativity, where designers and manufacturers convene to preserve such age-old techniques and materials.