Why Is Linen So Expensive? (Explained)

Linen is widely regarded to be the perfect fabric for the summer. Stiff and strong, this fabric is cool, comfortable, and extremely breathable. But these great things come at a price – Linen is quite costly compared to other fabrics.

In this article, you will get to know in detail about the reasons for the high cost of linen garments. But if you are looking for a short answer, here it is.

Why is linen so expensive?

Linen is expensive because harvesting it is a laborious and costly process. The linen fiber is hidden inside the flax stalks, and getting it out is quite time-consuming, which results in increased prices for linen clothes.

But there are also a host of other supplementary reasons that contribute to increasing the price of linen garments.

Why Are Linen Clothes So Costly?

expensive clothing

There are a couple of reasons for the popularity of linen, and they all contribute to increasing its costs.

Lack Of Supply Compared To Other Fabrics

Flax stalks, the things which house linen fibers inside them, are grown much more selectively than other fabrics. It is mainly grown in Western Europe, as the conditions over there are perfect for growing this plant.

Due to being cultivated in such selective regions, the supply of linen items has not been able to match their demand. Many reports and studies have projected that the demand for linen is only going to rise in the coming years.

Now, if you have some knowledge about how markets work, you would know that when supply goes down and demand goes up, the price of the good increases. This is the exact thing that is happening with linen.

And thus we are seeing a rise in linen-blend garments, with linen and rayon blends being most widely adopted in the market.

High Costs Of Production

The cost, time, and effort that’s needed in producing and manufacturing linen garments is quite high.

Just harvesting the plant takes over 90 days. After that, the plant must be pulled out intact, and the fibers need to be loosened from the stalk by exposing the plant to moisture. You can’t just pick them as you can do with cotton.

The weaving process also takes up a lot of time. Untreated linen fiber in its raw form is quite easy to break. This results in linen machinery running slower than the machinery and production chains of other fabrics.

This increased effort and time results in an increased cost of production. And as with all other goods, an increase in the cost of production leads to an increase in the final cost of the good. Thus, all these factors contribute to the high costs of linen garments.

Are Linen Garments Actually Expensive?

Linen clothes can be quite costly when you purchase them, but over time, these garments actually prove to be quite inexpensive.

Not sure what I mean? Let me break it down for you.

I will give you my own example. Three years ago, I bought a high-quality half-sleeved linen shirt from Perry Ellis (it’s still available on Amazon). It cost me around $50.

Now, I have worn this shirt every summer for the past three years. Let’s take the assumption that I wore it once a week for the four months of summer that my city gets. That means that I have worn this particular linen shirt over 50 times!

That is a per-wear cost of around $1!

And judging by its quality at the moment, I am pretty sure that it is going to last another 2-3 years at the minimum. So my per-wear cost is going to come down to 50 cents or below.

Through this example, I just wanted to tell you that linen shirts, dresses, and trousers aren’t that expensive once you think about the per-wear cost. In most cases, they come out to be cheaper than other materials due to their durability and longevity.

Are Linen Clothes Worth The Price?

Linen is definitely worth the price. It is very durable and tends to last for years. When you factor in the longevity of linen garments, there is no doubt that buying linen shirts, dresses, and trousers is definitely worth it.

Now, it’s important to be objective, so I will tell you what I mean by “worth it” here. For me, an item is “worth it” when it provides me more value than what I paid for it. This increase in value can also be considered synonymous with Return on Investment or ROI for short.

For me, linen clothing items are definitely worth it because the price I pay for it is quite less when compared to the value it is going to provide me by making me look stylish and keeping me cool at the same time for the next few years.

If this is also what you are looking for from your clothing, think no more. Linen is just the right fabric for you.

Final Remarks

The factors that contribute to the high prices of linen are:

  1. Long time taken for linen harvesting (80-90 days).
  2. High demand and low supply.
  3. Intesive labor usage in linen production.
  4. High costs of procuring linen.

But I still think that buying tailored linen garments is worth it. They are going to last you long, keep you cool, and make you look stylish; all at the same time.

And that’s literally all that I want from my summer wardrobe.