Gifted Creators: Lush celebrates the artists behind its iconic Knot Wraps
Lush’s latest Glasgow exhibition showcased a diverse roster of collaborators behind its reusable gift wrapping, presenting the textiles as artworks in and of themselves.
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- 14 November 2023
Every Christmas, the UK ploughs through an average of around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. That’s enough to travel the length of the country 600 times, or even as far as the moon and back. Since its inception in 1995, Lush has been on a mission to create cruelty-free, sustainable cosmetics. Their gift sets of handmade soaps, bodycare and bath bombs make for the perfect presents – but how could they reduce their footprint even further?
Enter Knot Wraps: a solution to the nation’s gift-wrapping woes in the form of beautifully designed, reusable squares of fabric. Introduced in 2009, the idea is inspired by Japanese furoshiki: a cloth that can be traced back to the Nara period (710–794), invented to transport and protect valuable goods. Lush reimagined this ancient technique for the modern day consumer, and has since collaborated with over 100 artists from all over the world. Their latest show in Glasgow, I Can’t Help It, I Like Art, celebrated the artists behind some of its most iconic designs.
The exhibition took place from 31 October–4 November at Glasgow-based arts charity Project Ability's exhibition space, Trongate 103, with artwork designed by Poppy Cole from Rocket Artists in Brighton. Project Ability is among Lush’s diverse range of collaborators, which includes global names like Vivienne Westwood, well-known designers such as Oliver Hibert, and young illustrators including Angela Kirkwood and Ayang Cempaka. Diversity and inclusivity is at the forefront of Lush's creative pursuits, and the brand has collaborated with a range of charitable organisations – including Arthouse Unlimited and Venture Arts, which support artists with complex neurodiverse and physical support needs. The designs range from kaleidoscopic patterns to lunar-inspired landscapes and whimsical illustrations.
“We like to curate our gifts and Knot Wrap collections like a gallery, so it was an organic progression to work with artists,” says Suzie Hackney, Lush Gifts Creative and Category Lead. She’s right – Knot Wraps aren’t just a prettier alternative to recycled paper. Displayed through the white-walled gallery, the event celebrated the textiles as artworks in and of themselves, and encouraged viewers to imagine its application beyond the obvious routes of regifting, or wrapping up a packed lunch. Knot Wraps can be worn as a head scarf, framed as a piece of art, or even used to upholster old furniture.
Since introducing the Knot Wraps almost 15 years ago, Lush has recycled six million plastic bottles into fabric. When they’re not made from waste, they’re crafted out of 100 per cent organic cotton or vintage textiles. As we fall deeper into the climate crisis, this exhibition offers an example of how commercial businesses can contribute to the cause: by putting sustainability, creativity and inclusivity at the forefront of its mission.
Copyright © Emily Macinnes