There are many qualities that make flax an attractive source to be used for textiles. It does not need irrigation systems to support growth and it can thrive simply on rainwater. Due to the natural antibacterial properties of the plant, almost no pesticides are needed for the crop to grow. The fibres have high tensile strength and are extremely durable. Flax was a once-thriving industry in Ireland but has almost completely disappeared. Currently, flax accounts for only 1% of the global fibre market share. Inflaxuation seeks to challenge the perception of how we utilise flax in the fashion and textile industry.
This research begins at a farm in Ireland called Mallon Linen, which is reintroducing flax into their land located in County Tyrone. They use regenerative agricultural practices to grow flax, using a crop rotation of potatoes, oats, flax and grass. The entire process supports the regeneration of soil which contributes to combating climate change and supports a biodiverse planet.
Inflaxuation investigates how we can create more value for flax by creating a wider range of textiles using only the materials sourced from the crop rotation that Mallon Linen has implemented. This textile collection consists of flax leather, flax fur, flax lace, starch buttons and fertiliser sequins and there is a range of techniques utilised to create these regenerative textile samples including 3D printing, embossing and lasercutting.
Due to the strength of flax fibres, the leather created has a high tensile strength whilst retaining flexibility and increased properties with the biodegradable coating. The flax fur is dyed using naturally sourced pigments, native to the UK, ensuring the process is not harmful to the soil at the end of life. Flax fur is a truly needed vegan alternative to animal fur, that contains no plastic coating! Fertiliser sequins are made using wastewater from the natural dye process of the fur and leather, they are made from crab shells, which are beneficial as a non-toxic fertiliser.
CQ Studio believes Biodesign and circularity in fashion involve looking back as much as we should be looking forwards. What technologies have existed for centuries that we can improve upon with some lateral thinking and help from biology? CQ Studio believes flax has huge untapped potential for textiles beyond linen.
Flax (short tow, long fibre, shives), Oats, Potato
CQ Studio (Article)