Made with love in our London-based
studio with the highest quality
100% sustainable linen
Our founder, Marta Cernovskaja, is a Siberian-born textile graduate who spent her young life in Lithuania and formative years in Brighton. She is now based in SE London by the Thames Barrier in Woolwich:
I started Lemuel MC in 2015 after being “made redundant” from a luxury design house due to my chronic skin condition. With my confidence at its lowest ebb, my partner persuaded me to invest my time and skills in what I love – design and linen; linen being something that, as well as being sustainable and beautiful, is breathable, antibacterial and anti-allergic for the skin.
At the heart of Lemuel MC is my belief (or fact?) that the future of fashion must be ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Linen should play a big role. It is a natural fabric grown without the need for pesticides and with less water than cotton, and is durable and kind to even the most sensitive skin. Even if I didn’t make linen clothes, I’d be wearing it every day.
Linen is so tactile and beautiful, and as well as the sustainability aspect, my second aim is to show that linen is not just for summer, but is perfect for winter too, being both breathable and perfect for layering. I founded Lemuel MC to harness the beauty and sustainability of linen with timeless “perfect simple” design and a commitment to a transparent and ethical way of working, showing with both our clothes and way of business that fashion can make the world a better place.
Our artisan, handmade clothes are crafted from 100% linen; a fabric it’s easy to fall in love with. Grown with no need for fertilisers or pesticides, and using very little water, linen is the perfect choice for the environmentally conscious.
But its appeal doesn’t end there. It’s durable, gets softer and keeps its shape with washing and is absolutely beautiful to the eye and touch – especially when transformed by our seamstresses into unique Lemuel MC designs.
Hand-Made in London
Each item is carefully cut, made and finished in-house in our studio in SE London.
We use double-stitch seams for durability and firmly believe that every woman (and man!) needs pockets.
All in all, we try to be about as sustainable as it’s possible to be without giving up on modern life and heading into the woods – offering beautiful fashion without compromise.
We believe it’s our responsibility to tell you where your clothes and accessories come from. Please get in touch if you have any questions about our commitments or our range and we’re happy to chat – we look forward to hearing from you! Find out about more about our suppliers.
BEAUTY OF LINEN
Warm in Winter
Linen is an elegant, tactile, sustainable, long-lasting natural fibre. Kind to the skin, it’s cooling in summer, and warms you up when it‘s cold.
Naturally antibacterial, linen allows skin to breathe. It does not cause allergic reaction.
Linen is strong (about two to three times stronger than cotton). It is wear-resistant, and even absorbs humidity.
We use different weights and thicknesses of linen, which means that there is always a garment perfect for English weather, either on its own or part of a layer. Each artisan product listing includes a “Linen Quality” section, so you know the weight of the fabric used.
Linen may be the oldest crafted textile, with evidence of flax cultivation going back 34,000 years. In ancient Mesopotamia, linen was the rare and extremely valuable fabric of choice for royalty and the priesthood. This trend continued with the Egyptians, who went to great effort to make the material as white as possible, with the aim of creating something that looked like “woven moonlight”. Read more of this fascinating and ancient story below…
The Long History of Linen
by Marta Cernovskaja May 02, 2019
Linen, which is made from the fibres of the Flax plant, is perhaps the oldest known crafted textile. Laborious to produce, (especially as Flax plants have the unfortunate habit of stripping soil of all its nutrients) linen has throughout its history been highly valued, especially for its freshness in hot weather and soft, light beauty.
This history goes back a surprisingly long way. Archaeologists have found flax fibres in Georgia that are 34,000 years old, which is a time so distant that our entire climate was different and there was a great big ice sheet to worry about in the north. Brightly dyed in lovely colours, these fibres demonstrate that far from just throwing on fur and running around after mammoths, our Stone Age ancestors were busying themselves with being expressive and creative.
From its beginnings in this hazy, distant past linen established itself more and more in humanity’s consciousness. If we jump forward a little (well, about 30,000 years or so) to Mesopotamia, linen was the rare and extremely valuable fabric of choice for the priesthood and royalty. This trend continued with the Egyptians, who went to great effort to make this material – which is perfect in a hot climate – aswhite as possible, with the aim of creating something that looked like “woven moonlight”.
The poor souls who facilitated the Egyptian obsession for whiteness – which denoted purity – did so through a long, difficult and onerous process of scrubbing and rinsing. The people of this time could produce incredibly fine linen, and Egypt was particularly infatuated with the fabric because they could grow flax without the worry that it would exhaust their fields, for the flooding of the Nile restored the soil’s nutrients every year. Mummified pharaohs were wrapped in linen, and the linen curtains in Tutankhamun’s tomb were astonishingly well preserved.
The Romans were decidedly less interested in keeping linen white, and instead dyed it in an array of bright colours, which became more fashionable as time went on. The linen sails of Cleopatra’s ships were a deep, imperial purple, which is one of the oldest dyes known to man. A favourite of Roman emperors, the secret of how to make this dye was only recently rediscovered, but it wasn’t only purple that the Romans fell in love with. Caesar, for example, decorated the Roman Forum with deep blue linen that was covered in stars.
Needing to keep up their supply, the Romans cultivated flax in Britain and Ireland, but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that linen caught on in northern Europe. In fact, at this time linen was worn under warmer woollen clothes, hence the evolution of the word lingerie. Even the word line comes from linen, as linen thread was used to determine straight lines. By the 16th century, rather than being the reserve of the incredibly wealthy (or religious), linen had become hugely popular. Competing with the English wool trade, Irish-produced linen became established and formed a well-respected industry in the 17th century.
As people become more concerned about sustainability and want to move away from throwaway, man-made fibres, linen’s long history as one of humanity’s favourite fabrics is resurfacing. As a fabric, it’s deeply embedded in our culture, cropping up in both the Torah and Bible. Even the angels are described as wearing pure white linen (probably because they have great taste) and the qualities that made it a favourite with ancient royalty are all still relevant today.
Easy to Care
Linen can be washed in a washing machine (but check the instructions!) and may be dry cleaned if you wish. Part of the beauty of linen is that washing makes it softer. When dry, we think the wrinkles add to the unique natural beauty of the fabric, but you can iron them smooth for a more refined look. To best protect the garment, we would advise you to iron from the inside.
Benefits of Wearing Linen:
• Natural Fibre
• Warm In Winter
• Cool in Summer
• Low Carbon Footprint
• Easy to Care