Sabahar just started working with linen in 2016. Although Ethiopia grows a lot of linseed (flax), it still only uses the flax plant for the seed and subsequent oil. There is not yet the capacity in Ethiopia to process the flax plant into linen thread. Therefore, Sabahar imports linen grown in Esatern Europe and processed in India. We are hopeful that Ethiopia will begin to produce its own linen soon.
Linen is one of the oldest fibers in the world (dyed flax fibers have been found in a prehistoric cave suggesting the use of linen fabrics from earlier than 36,000 BP). It is the strongest vegetable fiber (2- 3 times stronger than cotton), which is why remnants of linen cloth from history can still be found.
Linen is also one of the most sustainable materials that can be used to make textiles. All parts of the plant can be used after harvesting to create multiple byproducts so nothing is wasted. Flax is a very hearty plant that can grow in poor soil with little irrigation and does not require many chemical fertilizers to grow industrially.
Linen is a luxury fabric because it is so labor intensive to produce. It is not at all elastic so weaving with linen thread is very difficult. But the end result is a product that will last forever with a natural texture that is stunning.