3 questions for Marie-Emmanuelle Belzung
General Delegate for the Confédération Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre (CELC)
The General Delegate for the Confédération Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre (CELC) explains linen’s popularity and tells us about the new tools being set up to promote this sustainable, inspiring fibre and share information about it.
What are the SS22 linen trends Première Vision will present?
The spring-summer 2022 trends will be organised under a “Linen Road” theme highlighting linen’s ties to civilisation and its 38,000 years of innovation. Linen is rooted in our history, and it’s also the star of much-needed new scenarios at a time when the fashion industry is trying to break from a seasonal calendar, and trends are no longer a gauge of identity. Responsible and alive, linen has amazing affinities with other sustainable fibres and adapts to the most innovative technologies.
For spring-summer 2022, linen will express a confident, natural allure that’s also sophisticated.
It satisfies consumers’ desires for freshness and lightness in micro-weave shirt fabrics; in piqués, seersucker effects, and ultra featherweights; and in colours that are soft, speckled, or delicately faded. Additionally, linen in blends with silk or Tencel is synonymous with comfort and drape. And then there’s stretch linen, linen with fine coatings, and linen with a touch of cashmere for the demi-saison.
Brands and consumers are increasingly concerned about CSR. Is this an advantage for linen? Given this context, are designers and brands opting for linen?
Linen is based on the three foundations of sustainable development. In terms of the economy, the linen industry boosts agricultural and industrial employment (12,000 direct jobs) with its high-level expertise and European jobs that can’t be offshored. From a social standpoint, linen production is ethical and requires a skilled labour force complying with International Labour Office regulations and no toxic products for people. And finally, it’s remarkable from an environmental point of view, since its cultivation preserves ecosystems. These particular qualities of linen are perfectly aligned with the new consumer demands oriented towards responsible buying.
Given this situation, the CELC asked the Tagwalk company to analyse linen’s appearance on the catwalks over the past two seasons. For summer 2021, we saw a 102% increase in women’s ready-to-wear designs in linen compared to the preceding summer. While linen is still the favourite fibre of eco-responsible brands, 64% of luxury brands, such as Fendi, Dior and Vuitton, used it widely for the first time in summer 2021. And this trend will surely continue to grow.
With showrooms and trade shows not happening physically, what innovations have you developed to support brands?
For spring-summer 2022, the CELC will launch linendreamlab.com (lien), an open-source digital platform. The site will facilitate CELC members’ – spinners, weavers, knitters – contact with their clients as well as with brands and fashion designers. This online tool will be a complement to the Linen Innovation Book, a physical trend report and sourcing reference published twice a year by the CELC. The platform will give fashion brands, designers, young designers, influencers, trends agencies, and journalists free access to a new, inspiring experience of linen. By registering on the Linen Dream Lab, users will find it easier to source linen-related innovations. They can also use filters for specific characteristics of the fabrics and yarns presented on the site to create their own selection. And they can build mood boards and contact manufacturers directly. The site will also be an information tool to showcase the European linen industry in its ecosystem and to help users find the different support services the CELC offers. The platform will be expanded and enhanced over time and with each season. This innovation is coordinated with a linen training program targeting brands and retail professionals and with “I Love Linen”, a support campaign to increase sales in boutiques and e-shops.