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September 4th, 2023

Georgie

Craft [noun]
An activity involving a skill in making things by hand

AI seems to be the buzzword across a plethora of industries, not just in retail, which we discussed in August , but throughout September we are harking back to the very thing that makes us human – craft. In many ways, craft is tangibly linked to civilisation through the skills that have been developed over time allowing us to invent and design tools, clothing, shelter, transport, and decorative art.

The Makers Movement.

AI and craft are two concepts that intersect but are distinctly different. Crafts involves handmade skill whilst AI requires computer systems.

The maker’s movement is a contemporary phenomenon that celebrates artistry, skills and traditions associated with handmade and artisanal creations. Rooted in desire for authenticity, uniqueness and a connection to heritage, craft culture has gained immense momentum in recent years. It encompasses a wide range of artistic disciplines from traditional crafts like woodwork and pottery to more modern expressions such as sustainable fashion practices.

At it’s core, craft culture is characterised by a deep appreciation for the process of creation. Craftspeople embrace the tactility of working with materials, honing the specialised techniques, and the pursuit of aesthetic excellence. These artisans often prioritise quality over quantity, placing emphasis on producing items that are meticulously crafted and reflect a personal touch.

This is exactly what consumes are craving, the physicality of items that leverage the artist’s touch. Humans feel the pull of physical and the presence of craft allows consumers to be more present, more aware, and help bring back the enjoyment of process and experience. Many will reject the perfection of AI in favour of the serendipitous mistakes that define design from a human perspective.

Changing Perceptions.

The perception of dusty artisanal craft has dramatically changed resulting in consumers not only having a deeper understanding of crafts and their roots, but a yearning for them.

Conscious consumers, Gen Z’s and Millennials, are always looking to do good and be good, so they can feel good about the environment, more so than the generations before them. Given that these generations can have such significant impact on our society today, we have seen the makers market increase significantly, giving rise to a space for the revived craft culture to exist in, despite those generations having a firm footing in tech. Ultimately, seeking alternatives to mass produced goods.

As well as sustainability, we are seeing that consumers are becoming more and more in touch with community, localism and embracing other cultures which has influenced the resurgence of craft.

CULTURE

Craft culture often carries historical and cultural significance. Traditional crafts passed down through generations preserve cultural heritage and contribute to the sense of identity for various communities. Many artisans draw inspiration from traditional techniques while infusing their work with contemporary elements, leading to the evolution of craft traditions in the modern era. Consumers will look to brands that adopt a unifying approach, rather than a divisive tone. Consumers will align themselves with brands that understand them and reject those who have no room for diversity.

COMMUNITY

Craft culture is also closely tied to a sense of community and shared values. It fosters connections between makers, consumers, and enthusiasts who appreciate the dedication and passion that go into crafting unique pieces. Artisans often engage in direct relationships with their customers, offering a more personal experience compared to mass-produced goods. This dynamic partnership has led to the rise of craft markets, fairs, and online platforms where artisans can showcase and sell their creations directly to interested buyers. Consumers are looking to share ideas, work and collaborate more, focussing on what unites us.

LOCALISM

Localism encompasses sustainability, community, and culture, but emphasises the impact on the local economy. Purchasing locally crafted goods or services can directly impact the community it sits within. Artisanal businesses are usually much smaller scale operations, so when supported they can provide jobs, foster a sense of deep connection, and help to circulate money within the community. With more awareness around this, now more so than ever, consumers are becoming more interested in where their products are being made and their impacts on the environment.

London Design Festival

What prompted our desire to explore crafts this month was the London Design Festival. This annual event ‘celebrates and promotes the city as a design capital on the global stage’, gathering the country’s greatest thinkers, retailers, and makers to present a creative content powerhouse. The event is sponsored by a number of brands and organisations including the Crafts Council, the national charity for craft, who believe craft skills enrich us as individuals and can change the world for the better. We also believe craft can enrich the retail industry too! So we’ll be attending the festival to gather valuable insight into new ways we can champion craft in our retail design solutions.

Fancy being part of the craft culture?

Get in touch to discuss your project with one of our talented retail design specialists. We can turn your idea into a reality and manage the project through the stages – from its design through to its final implementation.

Let’s talk.

Every trend has an opposite, a counterpart that is its antithesis, and these ‘design dualities’ is precisely what our latest insight report explores. Delving into these dualities is not merely about style; it’s decoding the unspoken conversation of fractured communities, seeking pathways for bridge building through forms that reflect our division. Request the report!