Does the world need yet another line of linen sheets? It's a question the team at direct-to-consumer home brand Snowe diligently considered before launching their first linen collection this week. “Years ago, when we were researching products, we tested out dozens of linen sheet sets, and I didn’t like… any of them," says their co-founder and CEO Rachel Cohen. "Every single linen we tried was too rough for my skin—I’d wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I’d fallen asleep on cut grass.” Nope. No thank you.
Their solution? Speed up time. Snowe worked with an Italian manufacturer to "mimic the process of tumbling, whipping, and softening the finest 100% Italian linen with bursts of air." While their technology might be new—and proprietary; I asked about five times to see a video of this "air-whipping," but the manufacturer is carefully guarding their secrets—the idea is actually as old as linen fabric. Traipse through any antiques fair (or your grandparents' attic) long enough, and you'll come across a stack of timeworn linen sheets, soft and feathery from afternoons spent whipping in the wind on a clothesline.
The company's use of air—as opposed to stones, which have been more traditionally used in the softening of tough fabrics like linen—is not just symbolic. It's what sets their product apart. "What we really found is that just stone-washing wasn't giving us the smoothness we wanted to feel," explains Erica Peppers, head of product and operations for Snowe. "When you’re thinking of that process of stone-washing denim, you’re really thinking of something being tumbled. You don't want to tumble something so hard that you’re compromising the integrity of the base material." Think of stonewashed blue jeans—soft, yes, but borderline threadbare.
Not air-whipped linen. These sheets are light and billowy and supple, like sleeping on clouds. (I know this because I've been sleeping on them for the past week, care of an advance sample from the company, occasionally losing my husband in all their glorious fluff.)
Admittedly, their high quality comes at a price: $288 for a four-piece full set, which includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases, might sounds woefully high if you're used to shopping for your sheets in the TJMaxx bedding aisle (which, no shame, is where I generally get mine). But for linen—even linen that isn't artfully air-whipped into suppleness and Oeko-Tex certified that it hasn't been treated with harmful chemicals, as Snowe's is—that's actually a deal. Want to test them out without going all in? Their two-pack of linen pillow cases is just $88 and pretty much the ideal way to show yourself a little love in the deep depths of winter.
This article has been updated to state that the sheets are made of Italian linen, not Belgian.
Follow Natipernavigare on Instagram.