Lavender In Fashion

Here at Jersey Lavender, as you’ve probably guessed by now, we’re passionate about lavender and growing, harvesting and processing it has been our family’s life work for two generations now. But lavender is much more than just a crop; it is a beautiful sight, a distinctive taste, a calming aroma, a summery colour and a healing balm.

Lavender has been cultivated by man for many uses for over 2,500 years but, whilst it is currently enjoying a resurgence, lavender has gone in and out of fashion many times over the ages. In this week’s instalment of our blog, we’d like to take a quick look at some of the different ways in which lavender can be used and how their popularity has changed over time.

Perfume

Lavender has been grown and harvested for its essential oil for centuries but the first documented cases of its use come from Ancient Egypt, where it was used to create a perfume used in the embalming process. Since these ancient times, lavender oil has been used almost continuously in perfume; there are mentions of lavender oil being used as perfume in Ancient Greece, in Roman times, in the Medieval Period and right through to the modern day.

Lavender oil has not only been used to create perfumes for scenting the body, but also for scenting the air, this latter of which was also thought to have insect repelling properties. Today, thanks to the growing popularity of aromatherapy and a move towards utilising natural ingredients, lavender is frequently used in modern perfumes and the essential oil is used in products from air fresheners to deodorant.

Medicinal Use

In the bible, lavender is mentioned as being a key ingredient in an ointment that Mary uses to anoint the feet of Jesus. Since then, almost up until modern times, lavender was frequently used for medicinal purposes due to its soothing and relaxing properties. Right up until the First World War, lavender was used to treat ailments ranging from insect bites to insomnia and even, in certain cases, impotence.

In the middle of the 20th Century, lavender went out of fashion as great strides were made in science, discovering new medicines and synthetic ingredients. However, thanks to the revival in homeopathic and ‘new age’ treatments, the healing properties of lavender have once again been discovered and it is now used in multitudinous way in many modern medicines and herbal cures.

Fashion

As far as we can tell, lavender has been used as an effective dye for material for many centuries but it came in to its own during the medieval period; at this time, deep purple hues became popular with the nobility but the methods used to create such rich colours were beyond the monetary means of the ‘peasant’ population. In order to emulate the trend for purple, lavender was widely used as a cheaper dye and the delicate lilacs and pinks that the plant could produce became fashionable.

Like everything else, the popularity of lavender as a colour for clothing ebbed and flowed over the centuries but has recently enjoyed a comeback. A quick look at in the high street shops this summer will show you that lavender and similar pastel shades are everywhere at the moment and create garments that are both cooling and versatile.

In the last decade, lavender has been an especially popular choice for weddings in particular and special events in general. As a theme to offset the paleness of the bride’s gown, lavender flowers and bridesmaids’ dresses can be a beautiful yet understated colour that offers a touch of class and its prominence is only increasing.

In conclusion, lavender has been cultivated and used in numerous ways since the Ancient Egyptians and, although it has gone in and out of fashion many times in the following 2,500 years, you can guarantee that lavender’s star will always shine and we, at least, couldn’t be happier about it!
Jersey Lavender Farm Shop