Industry Issues: Can Traditional Craftsmanship Survive in the Modern World?

Because I've worked for artisan-intense companies and admire the work of traditional craftsmen, I was happy to read on Business Of Fashion this week their series How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?” It’s a critical question for fashion and has been for a while.

The difficulty in attracting new talent to the world of craft has been an issue for well over a decade; brands like Loewe and Kiton have tried to address the issue by opening their own training programs in order to pass skills on to the next generation.

Issues like the lack of a verified “Made In” labeling system (as mentioned by Professor Christopher Moore) have become more prominent recently. Articles in both the New York Times and Huffington Post highlight the issue, specifically with the use of sweatshop labor; ultimately, the real question that needs to be addressed is what does “Made In” really stand for?

Finally, I found the discussion of the challenge of high-cost craft to develop B2B customers - sited by Nadine Dufat, the managing director of plisseur Maison Gérard Lognon - extremely interesting. Even more so once Moore mentioned that there is a lack of visibility and understanding of skills by many retailers, designers and brands. His suggestion of creating an audited database of high-end craftsmen would be invaluable to the industry, while also showcasing the many and varied artisans working with traditional methods.