Stilleben visits Vilnius - tradition meets innovation in linen production
In a town outside the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, a century-long tradition for linen production meets technological innovation and sustainable practices in a family owned textile factory. This is where all Stilleben's linen textiles are sewed.
We recently visited the ambitious factory, where all sewing machines operate on a geothermal energy system. It is Sedex certified, ensuring fair and ethical conditions. The owner has worked in the textile industry all his life, and building one of the most modern and sustainable textile factories in Lithuania is his dream come true. The use of renewable energy sources, recycling, waste reduction and technological innovation, however, does not stand alone. The factory is also deeply rooted in knowledge and good craftsmanship of linen production.
The factory is built by the owner, in his hometown, to create employment locally for the people he grew up with - and still lives amongst. All rooms in the factory have grand views of the beautiful nature surrounding the factory, bringing the outdoors inside. The factory also has massage rooms available to all employees. It employs some of the most skilled seamstresses in the area and the development department is constantly working towards innovation and even better practices. Currently the daughter is head of design in this family run business.
Linen is a strong, natural fiber with a minimal carbon footprint both in growing and production. The flax plant thrives in the wild without extra watering, pesticides or other chemicals.
Flax fibers are hollow and highly absorbent. They are able to absorb as much as 20% of their own weight in water, but at the same time they dry quickly. This unique quality makes linen perfect for kitchen textiles and bedding. The hollow structure of the fibers also makes linen temperature regulating. Like silk and wool, linen is naturally heat and moisture-wicking as well as anti-bacterial.
The characteristic, tactile structure of linen is best achieved when letting it air dry instead of ironing it after washing.
Vilnius is always worth a visit. The beautiful city oozes of old world charm. Amongst hidden-away courtyards, a former prison turned hotel and lots of cozy restaurants, you also find linen shops on every street corner, emphasizing just how deeply anchored the tradition of linen production is here.
Shopping tip: Buy yourself a pair of hand knitted wool mittens while visiting Vilnius!