Sunday, 1 February 2015

London Linen garment - sown, grown and made in London

Some of the London linen thread was naturally dyed
using madder root also grown in London
Nurturing a love of nature and wanting to critique our fashion industry - a seed of this project was to grow a London garment to inspire people to get back in touch with where their clothes come from and debate textile provenance and clothes miles. And here it is!
Flax sown, grown and processed in London by many different people of all ages was handed to the students and knitting technicians at the London College of Fashion to design and make a London linen garment.  The brief was to reflect all the people who took part in the project.  The students designed and knitted a vest showing the lovely variations in the thread – like all the lovely variations in the people who made it. A huge thankyou to ALL the amazing people who helped envision, grow and co-create this textile journey, especially Kate Poland from Cordwainers Garden for her "LIVE" garden network.
Ryan Saradjola - photographer, Quentin Hubert as the stylist and Ka Hei Law as the hair and make-up artist. LCF technicians - knitters

The garment itself will be on shown at The Royal Horticultural
Society Secret Sunday Show on 1st March.

Flax beds being prepared at The London College of Fashion, Mare street with the help of Cordwainers Garden, Permablitz London, students & staff at LCF during spring last year

Flax grown at Brockwell Park
 Community Greenhouses
Flax being harvested 
Brockwell Park 
Community Greenhouses 2014
Aaron Scott Fletcher - "Knitwear Extraordinaire"
 heard about the Grow a London garment project via twitter. Keen to be part of the journey he brought  his spinning skills, enthusiasm and contemporary design vision to primary school children and students at LCF helping them learn how to spin too

Christine Rowe demonstrated drop spindling for fine linen threads with school children in East London. Christine was inspired to learn more about drop-spindling after being invited to research a project on Egyptian Coptic (one needle) knitting 
the finer flax fibres after
they have been scutched.
Cassie Liversidge
organised flax growing and processing
 with several East London schools
 inspiring children to learn that some of their clothes are made from plants
a primary school child tries
new skills
 in processing plant fibres
 to make thread
Aaron Fletcher demonstrates spinning
flax on a spinning wheel to obtain
linen thread
with primary school children
allowing them all to have a go too

Aaron's winged footwear deserves a mention
sure it helped to inspire the children to see the magical transformation from plant to fibre to garment and their part in that

Kate Poland and Zoë Burt give a talk about
Growing a London Garment at the London Permaculture Festival

.."each morning webs appear on earth as magical as the dew drops that cover them...In all myth the art of interlocking thread originated in the divine world and this is why some small mistake must be integrated into the pattern to remind us of life's imperfections"

...asked by a monastic, “What is Buddha?” Dongshan said, “Three pounds of flax.” The monastic had a realization and bowed.
And she'd had lucky eyes and a high heart,
And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,
At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
Sudden and laughing.

William Butler Yeats

For further information on the project please see:


  1. Some really useful slides here. I've been looking for something like this to help with a research piece I've been working on..
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