Sustainable Australian linen brand Carlotta + Gee reveal why pure French linen is the superior companion to life’s daily rituals.
The word ‘ritual’ can mean many things; a hot shower on a cold evening, followed by a cup of tea and a chapter of a book. Each of these rituals leads to one in particular: sleep. As self-proclaimed ‘sleep-investors’, long-time friends and now business partners Carlotta Casals and Georgie Cavanagh have spent the last three years building an all-natural 100 per cent French linen brand. Their philosophy? Good sleep starts with a good set of linen sheets. And they didn’t stop there – the brand seeks to enhance other daily rituals with pure linen sleepwear, including pyjama sets and robes, and tableware, including table clothes, napkins, placemats and aprons.
Carlotta + Gee has gone from two linen enthusiasts to a team of linen enthusiasts in Australia and Europe in its first three years. During that time, the brand has maintained three goals: to produce high-quality products of instrumental value to its customers, to ensure each product is eco-friendly and sustainable, and finally, to make each product affordable to encourage experimentation with different colours and patterns. We catch up with Carlotta and Georgie to hear more about their story and why we should convert to French linen if we haven’t already – in which case they assure us we won’t want to go back.
Produced in partnership with Carlotta + Gee
Could you please tell us where the Carlotta + Gee story began?
Carlotta Casals: We stayed at a boutique hotel in Byron Bay where they had the softest linen sheets – we’d never slept better! That prompted a discussion around the importance of investing in good sleep. We asked ourselves, “Why do we only sleep well on holidays?” Sleep ultimately determines how we feel throughout the day, so why not do it soundly and comfortably (and in style)? At that moment, we decided we wanted to invest in not just our own sleep but others’ as well – and from there, a love affair with high-quality, all-natural French linen was born. Three years later, what started out as a side hustle is now a full-time business with a growing team in Sydney and Europe.
What makes pure French linen a superior material for bedding, sleepwear and tableware?
Georgie Cavanagh: Once you start introducing linen to these areas of your life, it’s hard to go back. The benefits are manifold, all of which we aim to amplify at Carlotta + Gee with sustainable materials (all of our linen is derived from a natural fibre called flax, harvested from the flax plant), little to no chemicals, and beautiful pared-back tones.
Flax can be grown all around the world but we source ours from Normandy, France, where optimal climatic conditions ensure the plants are grown naturally and ecologically – free from any pesticides or dangerous chemicals. Flax is the oldest and strongest natural fibre in the world, making linen a much more durable material than cotton. Since it softens with age, linen also feels great on the skin.
All our linen is OEKO-TEX certified, meaning that it’s tested to make sure no harmful substances were used before it’s sent to us. We are also certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which is recognised as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres.
How are you championing sustainability in the manufacturing and distribution of your kitchen, bedroom and sleepwear products?
Carlotta Casals: We remain committed to keeping our environmental footprint as small as possible. Unlike cotton, flax doesn’t need heavy irrigation and so its production uses little water, making it a much more sustainable option. No part of the plant is wasted either; the biodegradable fibres are woven into the linen, the seeds are eaten, and the oil from the plant is used to varnish furniture. We maintain this attitude throughout our packaging, which uses 100% compostable, zero-waste mailer bags by our friends at Hero. Slow fashion encompasses more than what you put on your body – it encompasses what you put in your home.
Your collections are all inspired by nature; why is this important to Carlotta + Gee?
Georgie Cavanagh: It’s so important – many factors contribute to our quality of sleep, like room temperature, mattress quality and our evening routine. But the choice of bedding is just as crucial – hence why we have chosen to make eco-friendly, sustainable linen. Each set of Carlotta + Gee sheets is pre-washed in volcanic stones from Malaysia for over four hours to accelerate the flax softening process, attributing their extra soft touch to nature itself.
So what’s next for Carlotta + Gee? What can we look forward to?
Carlotta Casals: We are finally launching our children’s bedding range, which we are so excited about – it’s been in the works for a while! We will also be expanding our pyjama colours as they have been very popular – stay tuned for some stripes!
You’ll start to notice some patterns coming into a few of our designs to add a bit of texture, which you can layer with our solid colours (where there are more than 20 colours available). Linen is a fabric that you need to be able to touch and feel to get the whole experience – once you do, you’ll be hooked. We have something exciting coming up where clients will be able to experience the linen in a premium and unique environment to try it in action!