The Linen Project is a Research Project within the Fashion held in Common programme. Prospective participants are invited and can apply to conduct their research and engage their skills for a two-year period within the context of the Linen Project. The Linen Project offers an extensive research environment with a diversity of local and international partners. Together we explore, research and activate the economic viability of small-scale linen production in the Netherlands and in other localities.
Partners: Crafts Council Nederland, Foundation Werkverband Friese Rassen, Nederlands Openlucht Museum, Rode Wangen, TapRoot Farms, local farmers.
By growing our own raw materials, can we reconnect to the deep transformative human values of fashion? Can we revive the local production of flax and linen products in the Netherlands in a sustainable way? Can we create self-sustaining local ecologies and regenerative ecosystems? How can we make such small-scale production economically viable? Can the development of hybrid business models such as worker cooperatives and
other social enterprises that are focused on strengthening local communities and production help us to improve a shared quality of life by re-establishing a natural balance
with the earth we depend on?
The Linen Project is a long term multi-disciplinary research project within the Ecosystems research area of Fashion held in Common, the new curriculum of the
ArtEZ Master Fashion Design programme that began in September 2018. From a holistic value-based understanding of the world this project aims to explore,
research and activate the economic viability of small-scale linen production in the Netherlands and possibly in other localities. Thus investigating the potential of fashion, design, agriculture and the economy as an ecosystem capable of creating social, cultural
and ecological change.
As a biodiverse and extensive research environment that involves local and international partners, prospective participants come from a wide variety of fields that engage diverse skill sets and approaches including design, contemporary art, biology,
agriculture, (landscape) architecture, economy and innovative business strategy. We believe this community of people from different disciplines are able to feed and nourish each other with the aim of eventually creating realistic new business models that meet and redefine the future of fashion, culture and society as a whole.
We believe it is through spending time, energy and perseverance that we can start to relate and connect on a personal level to each other. By working closely together with local farmers we aim to learn how to prepare and engage the land to grow flax, and to manually process the precious linen fibers. By learning the traditional processes of growing, harvesting, spinning and weaving flax to create linen cloth, participants are encouraged to take the knowledge gained from involvement with the project in any direction they see relevant. There are no boundaries to what the outcome of this project can be. Participants are supported in creating and growing a flourishing autonomous practice and/or business that they then cultivate and sustain well beyond the two-year duration of the Master program, into the future.
(by Mark van Vorstenbos)