NATURE CALLS: After cutting a swathe through Paris and Milan in past years, the I Love Linen campaign has landed in London against a backdrop of ecological and sustainability-focused events and initiatives in the British capital. The French designer Philippe Nigro and CELC, The European Confederation of Flax and Hemp, are looking to raise linen’s profile as an environmentally friendly fabric. The campaign has already confirmed collaborations with 40 brands and retailers including Vivienne Westwood, The White Company, Max Mara and L.K. Bennett, across 200 locations in the UK.
John Lewis in Oxford Circus is promoting the campaign, which coincides with V&A’s Fashioned From Nature exhibition, which opened last week and runs through January, and Fashion Revolution Week, an annual initiative that marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, where 1,138 people were killed and many more injured. Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement that campaigns for systemic reform of the fashion industry with a focus on the need for greater transparency in the supply chain.
“Linen has become an identifiable symbol for quality products, and a reaction to the epidemic of disposability. As a designer, when using specific materials it has become essential not to cheat, to look ahead to recycling and impact on the environment,” said Nigro, who has been a driving force behind the campaign since its conception. In 2016, the campaign featured in the windows of stores in Paris’ Place des Vosges and in 2017 it moved to Milan’s via Montenapoleone.
A longtime purveyor of linen fabrics, the John Lewis Partnership, which runs the John Lewis and Peter Jones department stores, grows flax linen at its Leckford estate, where it is sourced and used for its stores’ clothing and bedding ranges. “The John Lewis customer, the Peter Jones customer, is looking for quality,” said Nigro. “They have a strong sense of ethics, and they appreciate sustainable sourcing, which is at the heart of the linen story. Sustainability is becoming more and more important. Sometimes it is difficult for the manufacturer to adapt their processes, but we can’t keep our eyes closed.”
Located in the central atrium of John Lewis’ flagship store in Oxford Circus, the installation will run until May 15, and consumers are encouraged to discover the manufacturing process and transformation of linen from fiber to fabric.