British master papermaker James Cropper has teamed up with long-standing client Selfridges for a dramatic art installation to promote sustainability in the fashion industry.
The large-scale sculpture, unveiled in all its glory to shoppers on 27 February, depicts two hands made from thousands of coloured paper cubes and is on show at the Exchange Square Manchester store of the luxury retailer – for whose signature yellow shopping bags James Cropper provides the paper.
The ‘hands of industry’ installation is a tribute to the concept of artisan craft mastered over generations. It was created by Lancashire artist Sam Robins, of studio Flow Creation, in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and was crafted entirely from a selection of James Cropper papers, made using reclaimed fibre from disposable paper cups.
The reclaimed fibre facility at James Cropper, which was opened by HM The Queen in 2013, uses a method that separates the paper from the plastic coating and currently processes the equivalent of 10 million paper cups per week from the off-cuts of paper cup manufacturers. The company has invested significantly in its plant and technology, to both develop its range of recycled materials and to ensure its own production methods are as sustainable as possible.
Susan Wilson, luxury packaging director at James Cropper, said: “Fashions may come and go, but a sense of style is forever. Similarly, we believe sustainability is more than a passing trend. This installation is about championing creativity with longevity – supported by the right mix of innovative and authentic production methods that respect the environment.”
The project comes as part of Selfridges’ dedication to sustainability in the fashion industry, through which it is encouraging its employees, partners and customers to buy responsibly and advocate sustainable products. With this art installation, the store is taking inspiration from the idea of ‘northern heritage’, focusing on northern companies that have a long history of manufacturing, have sustainable credentials and create products made using time honoured skills and production methods.
James Cropper has been making distinct, custom-made paper products from its base in the English Lake District since 1845 – working with many of the world’s leading art galleries, designers and luxury brands – and is a proud sponsor of other artists and exhibitions, including events at NYCxDesign, YSL at The Bowes and the ‘Paper Bar’ at London’s ICA for Thomas Pink’s Autumn/Winter 2015 collection.