Conscious Cashmere: Linnea Lund’s Ethical Fashion text and photos by Tristan Hickey

In 7 Rue de Furstemberg, just out of sight of the oldest church in Paris, the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one finds Linnea Lund, the ecological cashmere house founded by the French-Swedish designer, Charlotte Linnea Björklund.

To view Björklund’s Conscious Cashmere collection, however, I headed further along Place Furstemberg, passing the storefront, towards building number 5. Therein, I climbed a narrow, winding staircase to its summit: a beautifully renovated chambre de bonne. Nearing the opened door of the apartment, I was greeted first by faint laughter, then by two pairs of traditional Swedish clogs placed on the final steps of the staircase, and finally, upon entering, by a charming kitchen filled with Fruhkost treats (Swedish for breakfast).

Passing through the kitchen into the living room my attention directed itself first to a heavy wooden table in the centre of the room, decorated with flowers and more small bites, surrounded by engraved wooden chairs from Sweden. I was welcomed warmly, offered coffee, encouraged to eat, to make myself at home, to place my coat and bag. All the while, the as yet unmentioned star of the show — the collection I had come to view — was hung meticulously on suspended wooden clothing racks along one wall of the room. Rather than overshadowing the collection, however, this homeric hospitality functioned to distill the spirit of the clothing I would in due course spend much time examining.

Linnea Lund is at its core a principled resistance to fast fashion: spun from the high-quality cashmere wool produced by Mongolian goats, and fashioned by artisans in Italy, the clothing and accessories are available for purchase via direct sales and pre-order (in any number of colours and cuts) to eliminate overproduction. This monitored, sustainable process produces an “ethical cashmere,” which helps to create the “authentic” character of the clothing, as Björklund explained it to me. Moreover, too, this traceable process assures customers that the cashmere is of the highest quality, equivalent to that of the largest luxury houses.

The brand’s ethos of ecological integrity became apparent to me not only after Björklund explained its processes of production, but also, less explicitly, through the setting in which the collection was being shown, which mirrored the mood of the clothing itself: charming and comfortable. A sewing machine sat in one corner, in another corner rested a sofa upholstered in fabric with a traditional Swedish print, and wooden Dala horse statues were dotted about the space, too; the ‘set design’ brought to life a scene of tranquil Swedish domesticity, and in so doing underscored the mood of the collection itself. (On a separate but related note, I found it amusing how my slow ascent up the stairs to the showroom and deferred introduction to the collection itself, as a result of the breakfast spread, evinced the brand’s philosophy of “slow” fashion–at Linnea Lund nothing is rushed, it appears, and everything is done with care).

Adjacent to the living room, a bedroom housed the rest of the minimalist, elegant collection in a manner so harmonious with the space that I felt as if I was looking into someone’s actual bedroom at their personal collection of cashmere. The whole sense of Linnea Lund materialised for me as I walked into this room, which helped to unify the notions of the ethical and the authentic with the motif of the home, creating a symbolic structure of sorts, one which seeminlgy defines the brand.

Ultimately, in an industry obsessed with novelty and a determination to differentiate, what feels most “authentic” and “ethical” about Linnea Lund is its refusal to be distracted by anything other than the sustainable production of classic, smart, and comfortable cashmere designs of the most excellent quality.

To explore the clothing for oneself, either visit the 7 Rue de Furstemberg location, or Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. What’s more, for an experience similar to my own, one can join the team of Linnea Lund Thursday mornings for a traditional Swedish breakfast (sign-up via their website).

Tristan Hickey

Before arriving in Paris, where he is now based, the German-American New York City native studied Literature and Philosophy in Montréal, after which he moved to Berlin to begin working in the arts as a curator, producer, and writer.