If you want to make biodegradable clothing in your own neighborhood, you’ve got to go back to the beginning of the development process and start with the fibers.

In our quest for the right raw materials, we ran into two old acquaintances and one new one.

Leinen

Linen (also known as flax) is the oldest textile fiber in the world. It’s also an economical jack-of-all-trades. The fibers are extracted from the bast, the tissue under the plant’s bark. Linen fibers are comfortable to wear thanks to their cooling effect, and they’re extremely durable. Farming flax requires quite a bit of know-how, but the good news is that it doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer or pesticides, or additional irrigation. It grows best in temperate climate zones.

Hanf

Hemp fibers are versatile, easy to care for, and virtually perfect. They’re warm, breathable, and extremely strong, which is why hemp has been embraced by so many cultures for thousands of years. Hemp fibers are extracted from the plant’s bast. The plant thrives in almost any climate, doesn’t need much water or any pesticides and doesn’t deplete agricultural soil.

Modal

Modal is a fiber whose properties are quite similar to those of cotton. It’s made from cellulose that has been extracted from beechwood. First, beechwood shavings are dissolved in acid and then the cellulose is extracted, processed into a viscous pulp, and spun into threads. Beech trees are selfpropagating, which means no planting is required to produce Modal.

The F-lax farmer family

The sixth generation of the Cabot family farms its flax fields for linen production in Normandy as it has for 90 years. They know their fields and their soil better than anyone else, but every season is a new game. Each fiber is unique, every year is different – that is the nature of natural fibers.