The contemporary craftsman

The contemporary craftsman is a lover and a perfectionist.

Craftsmen of the extraordinary and the breathtaking do not come to the trade by chance. They have fallen in love with a material or a technique and have a deep conviction that they can contribute something new, rehabilitate it, give it a new dimension, renew the genre and take it further.

The passion of each craftsman takes on a different 
form and the patterns of their enthusiasm are countless.

For some, it is the quality of the manual work that is important, the precision, the repetition and the beauty of the gesture.

Sometimes, it is the pride of belonging to a tradition, the pleasure of protecting and transmitting savoir-faire or working within an exceptional establishment.

For others, it is the relationship with the material, its physicality and sensual nature, seeing it transform before the eyes, the pleasure of feeling it under their fingers, the pleasure of fashioning it.

For others, it is the proximity with the ultimate truth of the material, the discovery and revelation of its beauty.

Craftsmen of the extraordinary share a fascination

for the infinite possibilities their favorite material offers,

as well as the endless challenges and discoveries that crop up every day.

The love of a trade and work well done is felt in the quality of production. It comes through in the unutterable sense of detail, in the exemplary quality of implementation, in the care given to the finishing touches, bringing the ultimate grace of the small supplement from the soul.

Craftsman’s creativity simultaneously expresses the artistic and the technical. Their aesthetic governs their works, their mastery of the technologies opens new perspectives.

"Striking a balance between ancestral interlacing 
techniques and shape memore technology in innovative fibers..
materializing light through a simple sleight of hand" 
- Luc Druez

A new frontier, Indian craft

Among the international powers that influence fashion, the Indian craft is unique and rich in its history and religions. The craft traditions are as many in India as much there are cultures. For years the crafts of India were embedded and limited within its rural communities but now the contemporary designers have revived them and given them a new look to present it to the the world.

These designers knew that traditional crafts of India is remaining standstill in this rapidly developing era and it is very important to revive with the current mix of fashion designing. Such designers includes some well known names like: Madhu Jain, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Krishna Mehta, Mona Pali and more. They have made opulent designs using Indian craft traditions and presented in famous fashion weeks at India. These well experienced designers have astonished even to the western audience by promoting Indian craft & culture in their own way. As a result today Indian fashion industry is an international name to reckon with.

Here is because India is a country that is developing 
very fast on every field and it is full of resources 
and knowledge about craftsmanship that really can implement 
and improve the fashion industry.

Some of the famous Indian craft techniques are mentioned below:

Tie-n-Dye: Tie-n-dye is a famous fabric coloration method where parts of fabric is tied with a string or rubberband and rest part is dyed in a color. This method originally came from Rajasthan. Today it is used in various forms and color combinations.

Bandhani: Originated from Rajasthan and Gujarat Bandhani is another method of dyeing technique. In this method fabric is tied in different sections to create patterns.

Bandhani: is another craft that has been contemporized by the designers to present a unique collection.

Block Printing: Gujarat’s another craft technique which is very known among people in India is block printing. Under this method different block of different prints and sizes are created and embossed on fabric.

Phulkari: Phulkari is an ancient tradition of hand embroidery flower patterns from Punjab. It is one of such craft that has remained standstill in India due to rapid development and machine embroidery. Thanks to certain designers who have revived it and kept alive.

Customers want a multi-sensorial experience

Craftsmanship is a multi-sensorial experience, something that prestigiously engages customers and touches their emotions.

 “Customers are looking for something special,” London-based designer David Koma tells the Business of Fashion. “There’s a huge market for commercial brands so I feel if [customers] are buying something expensive and buying something special, there should be a lot of handwork and craftsmanship involved to make them feel that their money is well spent.”

For many reasons, craftsmanship has remained an incredibly important marketing message for luxury brands in recent years. Brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci have been known to bring their artisans into retail stores, who then hand-stitch leather goods in the presence of customers. YouTube has allowed these demonstrations to become global. Brands can now visually establish the intricacies of hand stitched leather goods, couture embroidery, eyewear assembly, the handling of exotic skins and even how some of their most iconic products are made, start to finish.

Indeed, a visual content that includes the craftsmanship has a certain atmosphere and mood that makes the client think about how those products are made with love, care, gentleness and great attention, not missing any detail of the whole process of making. That is because lots of fashion companies are trying the more to advertise heavily through this persuasive art, building on this some specific marketing strategy and stimulating all the five senses of the audience.

Business is merging craftsmanship, again.

Consumers need to experience “craft” not just as static objects or as brand-led “fashion,” “luxury design” or “art,” but must also understand the full context in which they were made, why they are special, and meet the creators and see their remarkable skills up close.

So we can see that a new “trend” is affirming:

growing sophistication rather than raw wealth 
is becoming the main driver of how people consume, 
shifting luxury spending to 
craft or brands with craft credentials.

Craftsmen become extremely esteemed resources of luxury brands

The international field of craftsmanship is full of hidden resources that should be revered, treasured and taken preciously.

Nowadays big fashion companies, mainly the so called producers of “fast-fashion”, are outsourcing the production the more is possible, towards places where a simple white t-shirt is made by tiny hands of a little poor girl. The industry of fashion and la Camera della Moda are always trying to clear the issue, ensuring that this kind of human exploitation would not be made again.

Although, of course, this effort is not enough
 to stop great names to produce where 
the cost is reduced at the minimum, 
a little revolution can be made in a different direction.

While biggest industries are exploiting poor workers, on the other hand, there are companies that luckily decide to invest on those multiple skilled hands, which can result as full of resources, not caring about the cost but caring more about the quality. Those companies such as, just to mention some brands, Ferragamo and Chanel, do not give the priority to the lowest costs of production and materials, discriminating the employers, but they give great importance to craftsmanship.

This make them have a differential advantage compared to the other competitors of the market, since lot of customers prefer wearing items which give them sensations and hide a long standing heritage and particular process of making.

The result is of course impeccable: 
the lining, the shapes, the care of those items 
become impeccably perfect, 
plus they have a great value inside.

For these reasons, the biggest luxury fashion brands are competing in order to have the best craftsmen and to get a plus point that becomes distinctive during the process of purchasing. The highest fashion brands have started being more loyal to craftsmanship also because customers, following the trend of the last generations, are becoming more and more interested in the value and the story behind a product, caring about the entire process of making that has to be necessarily transparent and true to the identity of the brand.

3D printing challenges fashion luxury brands

3D printing is an additive technology

which creates three-dimensional

objects by laying thin layers atop each other.

In fashion, traditionally melting or laser sintering is utilized. The machine moves from left to right until an item is stacked into form.  Laser sintering technology allows users to cut into materials to create a type of lattice work or allows you to cut into an already formed object to form another object such as a necklace or bracelet charm. Consumers are buying several 3D printed pieces but are unaware of how the item is being manufactured. Since 3D printing within fashion is in a relatively early stage, many designers and brands are not advertising their use of the technology.

Berlin-based VOJD Studios, a company that specializes in 3D-printed accessories for high fashion houses, admits:

"We are firm believers that classic 
craftsmanship 
and new technologies should not be juxtaposed; 
on the contrary, it is the symbiosis between tradition 
and innovation that catalyses progress. 
In our projects, we try to adopt the best of both worlds. 
3D printing is the main manufacturing technology we use,
 but the finishing of the products involves 
a lot of precise manual work and traditional skilled 
craftsmanship – a collaborative approach that 
we believe would push forward the applications 
of digital manufacturing in the future."

 

Craftsmanship changes its skin with the 3D printing of K. Herdewyn

Having an international overview of the development of fashion linked with craftsmanship, the Belgian footwear designer Katrien Herdewyn represents a clear example of tradition combined with technology and modernity, such as 3D printing. With a background in engineering, material sciences, and nanotechnology, the young designer is breaking down fashion boundaries and creating some truly remarkable footwear pieces with the help of traditional shoemaking techniques and 3D printing.

In 2014, Herdewyn founded her own shoe label, Elegnano, which has continually emphasized the use of 3D printing technologies and continued use of traditional Italian craftsmanship. As the designer points out, however, she is not simply interested in using 3D modeling and printing technologies for the sake of using them, but has found that they have allowed for new possibilities in terms of creative shoe designs.

“With my background in engineering, I try and combine 
new technologies with traditional craftsmanship,” 
Herdewyn explained in an interview. 

“I believe this is where the future lies. 
3D printing offers so many possibilities; you can 
do anything you can imagine. But when it comes to shoes,
 a designer always has to take into account that you 
have to be able to wear and walk in the shoe.
I want to design shoes that 
are high tech and high fashion at the same time.”

Herdewyn’s Elegnano label features very elegantly designed but stunning shoes, described as determined, fashionable, and graceful all at once. The collection, which is aimed at a relatively exclusive commercial market (with prices ranging between 400 and 700 euros), is only one side of the designer’s work, as she is continually experimenting with new shoe structures and forms to try and come up with innovative and avant-garde styles.

Over the years, the young Belgian designer has seen her shoes featured in exhibitions and fashion shows around the world, including in Belgium, the Netherlands, London, and Paris. Herdewyn and Elegnano have both been recognized multiple times with various awards and accolades.

Alessandro Dari, the master of Gold

The beauty of Florence is that you can actually get lost among the tiny streets, discovering impeccable beauties that, most of the times, have experienced hundreds of years, like the workshop of Alessandro Dari. Just a little bit out of the center, once I was walking on Via San Niccolò, near Piazzale Michelangelo, I discovered a small workshop inside a wonderful palace of the XV century. Admiring magnificent building original from the Renaissance, this hidden laboratory kept my attention.

Alessandro Dari is a Florentine master of the art of gold-smithing as well as being a sculptor and a pharmacist. He made his first creation, a beautiful ring, when he was sixteen years old, just to prove his great skills also when he was very young. In his shop-museum, in the Nasi-Quaratesi palace, you can admire his collections of gold-smithing and appreciate the uniqueness of the jewels.

gold, art, florence His work is based on an on-going spiritual quest of his personal experience that nourishes and stimulates the creation of his works. Since the Eighties, Dari has produced 900 pieces divided into collections that are inspired by Gothic, Castles, Music, Alchemy and Sacred Art. He was the first to combine anatomy and architecture in the world of contemporary jewellery. His works are on display at the Silver Museum in Florence. In 2003, he won the Perseo award for Best Artist of the town and, in 2006, he was mentioned as artist chosen by the Vatican. The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage awarded his lab in 2001 as a ‘Museum Workshop’. Last year, he began to run sculptural jewelry courses.

Don’t think he creates “just” jewels!

His creations range from little earrings to magnificent sculptures that doesn’t need to be worn necessarily.

This example of craftsmanship shows how this limitless field is,
 always experimenting something new, 
being updated, though its roots are so far away in the past.