My job linen spinner
Olivier Guillaume, of Safilin, Première Vision Yarns, (5M80) with his small leather finger protectors, symbolizing the strength of the fibre and the linen industry.
ONE LINEN FIELD IS ENOUGH TO CONVEY THE BEAUTY OF OUR INDUSTRY
One day for a fashion brand I organised a journey of discovery around linen, from fibre to yarn. Do you know what they told me at the end of the visit? “Linen, when you don’t know about it, is an enigma. When you learn about it, it’s like a miracle.” And that really describes linen. Even just 20 years ago, our customers consisted entirely of specialists. Today, linen is everywhere. You can’t open a fashion or decorating catalogue without running into it. There is a specific stress involved in our production. Linen is a demanding natural fibre. Each year, the harvest is a stressful moment. We are at the mercy of the weather, which partly determines the volume and quality of the fibres that we will work in the following months. Our business is extremely complex and technical since, starting from fibres that are all naturally different, our job is to provide a homogenous thread, smoothing out the vagaries of the harvest. After this annual step comes the second round: our textile outlets are closely linked to fashion. But as a spinner, we are at the very start of the chain, making it paramount to anticipate trends, so we can make the best choices as to fibre choices and for stocking products. We have to guess which ones will have the wind in their sails …