Feb 8, 2020
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The World Linen Forum: Linen could soon account for 1% of the world’s textiles

Feb 8, 2020

The second World Linen Forum will be held in Paris between February 9-10. The first event was met with great success in 2018 and the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp (CELC) is expecting more than 200 international decision-makers from 15 different countries. Among others, businesses from China, Japan and India will be represented in order to develop international cooperation across the sector, drawing in particular on the qualities of an almost exclusively European material: linen.

The 2018 World Linen Forum - CELC

“If flax represents only 0.4% of the worldwide textile fibers today, it has many advantages pushing it towards 1%,” concluded Marie-Emmanuelle Belzung, the director of the CELC.

“This goal can be achieved if all the links in the chain coordinate to reach a long-term agreement on transparent traceability, following the market and ensuring marketing support."

Europe is proud of its linen and accounts for 80% of its production. Eco-friendly, cultivated without fertilizers and with low-water consumption, this fiber is produced in Europe on a thin strip of land that spans from the Netherlands to north-western France, serving as the main supplier. Despite its 10,000 businesses across 14 countries in the EU, this sector must rely almost exclusively on foreign processors to yield thread and fabric. Creating a dialogue centered on common themes between the sector’s different players is thus strategically essential.

The second World Linen Forum will be the occasion to officially acquire ISO Standard 320706-1 certification for the sector. In the works for over seven years, this certification will provide brands with a guarantee of the fiber composition in their collections, avoiding any risk of counterfeiting.

As a matter of fact, the CELC is exploring the launch of a platform that would bring together all the tools and scientific publications related to the material. The Linen Matrix 2019, a long-awaited publication with a global cartography of the sector, is also awaited at the Forum. Carried out by the Gherzi expert firm, the publication will provide informational guidelines and common foundations to guide the linen industry’s ambitious future.


“The success of this cooperation between the different parties involved in the linen economy depends on the definition of a common ambition and agenda,” explained the president of the CELC, Bart Depourcq.

“Only together will we be able to join forces and amplify the role of linen in the textile industry. This will be achieved with reliable economic data, fiber characterization requirements and a quality-driven marketing strategy based on transparent certification."

The industry’s determination won’t overlook its stylistic vocation in the process. In addition to the publication of the "One Fiber, 10 positive impacts" manifesto, the World Linen Forum also intends to reveal the results of a study conducted by Tagwalk, the fashion-specialized search engine, during the Paris, Milan, London and New York fashion weeks, whose goal was to identify the role of linen in the collections.

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