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Caring for Linen — An Interview with Marle Founder Juliet Souter


Grounded on the philosophy of everyday luxury, premium New Zealand womenswear brand Marle has become a firm staple in my wardrobe over the last few years. Each collection consists of feminine, thoughtful essentials with an emphasis on subtle details, simple silhouettes and a refined, earthy palette. Proudly using natural fabrics and fibres and compostable packaging, Marle only works with manufacturers and suppliers equally committed to leaving a lighter footprint on our planet. Along with silk, wool, Perino and cotton, linen is one of the exclusively natural yarns that Marle uses, and the current Winter Collection offers a beautiful Linen Capsule with pieces designed to be worn effortlessly all year round.

It's no secret how much I love using linen at home. Breathable and kind to the skin with a soft yet textural quality, it extends beyond our bed linen to cushion covers, tablecloths and napkins. With its unique sustainable benefits such as requiring less water to produce than cotton, and being biodegradable, it's no wonder more and more of us are favouring linen when it comes to our wardrobe. Known for its strength and durability, if cared for properly linen will last for many years. 

So, how should you care for your linen pieces? I spoke to Marle founder Juliet Souter to find out the best practices... 

Linen is one of the exclusively natural yarns Marle uses alongside silk, wool, Perino and cotton. Why do you use linen?
Natural yarn, such as linen can elevate simple silhouettes and soft colour palettes with its unique character, weave and appearance. The Marle aesthetic is largely inspired by the inherent texture, created through the natural fibres we use.

We work exclusively with natural fibres and fabric. Primarily for the look and feel, but also the breathability and antimicrobial benefits to the wearer, and the fact they are low-impact to the environment. Linen has its own unique sustainable benefits such as requiring less water to produce compared to cotton and it is also biodegradable like all natural fibres.

As a long-time user of linen bedding, I love that I can throw it all in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Do linen garments need to be treated with more care i.e prepped in a certain way, placed in a laundry bag, washed separately or hand-washed?
While most linen can be cold machine washed, blended or naturally dyed linen can require hand washing or dry cleaning. Best practice is to read the care label carefully as it’s not a one fits all method for linen. Most of our 100% linen pieces are machine washable. With our linen/silk blends we recommend a cold hand wash and flat dry in the shade or dry-clean.

Linen can vary significantly in weight and texture. For more delicate items that are machine washable, using a laundry bag is advised. It is important to not wring out the fabric. For heavier pieces, give them a good shake out or gently pull to reshape and lay flat to dry in the shade.

If they need to be hand-washed, what is the best method?
Firstly, untie drawstrings and fasten buttons. Use cold water and add a few drops of mild detergent (we recommend ecostore), ensuring the water isn’t too soapy. Gently swish the garment in the water, being careful not to soak, wring or twist. Once washed, tip out the soapy water and repeat with cold, clean water to ensure all of the detergent is removed.

When it comes to drying your linen pieces, what is the safest option to ensure longevity?
Before drying, gently pull to reshape - if specified on the care label. It is best to dry linen either hanging or laying flat in open air, out of direct sunlight. A dryer can be used once the garment is dry to soften the fibres.

Linen is known for its naturally crinkly appearance. Can you iron linen?
We love the inherent textural quality of linen. If you want to iron out crinkles, either steam the garment or if the care label specifies, use an iron, most linen can withstand quite a high heat with ironing. Again, it depends on the blend so always read the care label.

The Marle Winter capsule two collection features several linen pieces including the Carly Dress, Dusty Skirt and Jade Top. Do the individual styles need to be cared for differently?
With linen, it’s never one rule for all. The Carly, Dusty and Jade Top are in fact all cut from the same flax linen but they have different washing instructions. The Dusty Skirt and Carly Dress can both be cold machine washed and line dried in the shade. Due to the design of the Jade Top featuring shirring and ties, we suggest a separate, cool hand wash using a drop of mild detergent. After washing, gently pull to reshape and lay the flat in the shade to dry.

Can we expect any shrinkage or changes in shape with linen, even when following these guidelines?
All of our linen is pre-shrunk so if washed correctly, you shouldn’t see any shrinkage. Linen will naturally change in shape if it’s wrung out, twisted or pulled too hard so it's imperative to be gentle when getting the garment ready to dry.

Thank you to Juliet for sharing these wonderful tips. Shop the Marle new season pieces here

Images courtesy of Marle

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