As part of efforts to raise the profile of linen, hemp and ramie fibres in the fashion industry, a new industry body has been set up to emphasise the fibres' eco-friendly credentials and establish a benchmark for their identification.

The Bast Fibre Authority (Observatoire des Fibres Liberiennes) was announced last week at the Première Vision fabric fair in Paris by the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp CELC).

Its aim is to communicate with consumers about the origin and composition of the products they use, with an emphasis on positioning European flax and linen as green fibres of the future.

The move also supports the European Flax and Club Masters of Linen labels.

The Bast Fibre Authority will also work with laboratories and technical and research centres in establishing standardised tests to identify and differentiate the three fibres, even after passing along different stages of the textile production chain.

This means that quality control teams will, for what is thought to be the first time, have access to laboratories across Europe all using a standardised method of identification.

The move follows the launch of the European Flax label, a consumer-facing mark intended to position the fibres, yarns and textiles as a premium product with a uniquely European heritage.