Flax has been farmed and linen
fabrics woven in Flanders for centuries. By the 18th century,
Meulebeke, situated near Kortrijk, had emerged as one of the
villages with the largest linen production. By the 1800's, there
were dozens of weaving firms operating in and around Meulebeke. Of
these, only two remained: Libeco and Lagae
The first information on Libeco dates from 1864.
At that time, the company was a collecting point and warehouse for
pure linen fabrics produced in the homes of the cottage workforce
of the region. From this first warehouse, the woven goods were
transported by handcart to Kortrijk, where they were dyed and sold.
By 1904, a production facility had been established and the factory
had begun to install power looms; by the end of the first World
War, 140 looms were in operation. Fine quality, pure linen fabrics
and linen-cotton blends were produced for sheets and table
coverings. Even then, exports were important to the firm,
especially to South America. World War II heralded a difficult
period for the company but by the early 1960's, Libeco's
shareholders adopted an ambitious investment plan to ensure
stability and allow the firm to grow once more.
Established in Kortrijk in 1858, Lagae Linens
produced fine cambric and handkerchiefs. With their takeover of
Tissages de Gryze in Meulebeke, the Lagae brothers began to
actively merchandise their expanded weaving production. Despite
partial destruction of their weaving workshops in 1940, production
facilities at Lagae Linens have been rebuilt and continually
expanded over the years resulting in a firm with very modern
production equipment. At the time of their merger with Libeco, the
firm was equipped with the latest Sülzer-Rüti projectile and rapier
These venerable and uniquely complementary weaving firms merged on
June 2, 1997, into a single company known simply as Libeco·Lagae.
The strength and synergy realized by this friendly merger ensures
that the age-old craft of Belgian linen weaving heads into the new
millennium stronger than ever.
Home and the manufacturing of finished products has
always been part of the activities. Between 1864 and 1950 mostly
focussed on the production of very fine handkerchiefs, table linen
,bed linen and towels. In the sixties and the seventies the company
increased the range to prints and yarn dyes. Since 1980 the
division became more and more active in promoting a complete
concept of linen for the home. Today it is one of the most creative
lines on the contemporary market for household linens.
Inc. was founded in 1993 in New York City. It was
set up as a sales office for servicing the apparel market in the
States. In 1997 the company acquired the decorative division of Hamilton Adams
and merged the two activities. Today the company is our main
sales office for the US-market.
Libeco Home Stores
NV was founded in 1986 under the name The Linen
House. A first store was opened in Bruges as an experiment in
retail. Over the years new stores were opened and the "linen
concept " was developed further. Today we operate 2 stores:
Tokyo & Meulebeke.