With a rise in the number of apprenticeships, tailoring schools and guilds offering expertise in both traditional and modern techniques, it is not surprising that this would soon influence the fashion sector directly. Modern Artisan is set to be one of the biggest trends of the coming Spring Summer season, seeing master craftsmen come to the forefront and work alongside modern technology to create a harmony we didn’t know existed.
In menswear, we will see a focus on natural textiles, mark making and quality production methods. At fashion week cut and paste techniques donned the catwalk, with a definite veer towards a new style of workwear. Oversized pockets and panelled construction alongside unfinished hems give a raw quality to the garments, as well as a focus on typography and workman's drawings in menswear print garments which was seen at James Long.
Localised production methods will play a big part on the change in the fashion sector with brands focusing on going back to their roots, which was apparent with a rise in UK manufacture over the last year. The luxury market has seen profits soar with the Made In Britain trend on a continual incline, and local Manchester tailors Frank Rostron has noticed a direct impact on his business. “The Made In Britain trend has made a massive impact on our business. It’s a revolution, we’ve noticed a lot more sales and interest in the kind of work that we do.”
The trend for craftsmanship is a celebration of traditional methods in a world seemingly filled with technology. Fast fashion became a huge part of the way the UK shopped in the early 2000s, but consumers are swinging back to the idea of clothing that is made to last. “The fast fashion trend didn’t affect our sales, our customer doesn’t want that. We are in the luxury end of the market, but we know how to make something that will last. All of our products are made in England and we make it to fit the customer perfectly, and because the fit is timeless it makes the garment timeless. You will always look in your wardrobe and wear the thing that fits you best, which is what makes it worth the extra money. It gives you confidence because you know you will look good in it, it is made for you.” said Frank Rostron.
Established in 1968, Frank Rostron focus on fine cut bespoke shirts, with experienced in house cutters and seamstress’, ensuring the service to their clients is unrivaled. Tailoring has been a menswear favourite for centuries, with Savile Row being a well known term in Britain and men traveling from far to visit the famous London street. With undeniably popular fashion house Alexander McQueen set to return to it’s roots with a store opening at number 9 Savile Row, it’s clear that the trend for bespoke is returning. McQueen began his fashion life as an apprentice tailor at Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row, and the new store has been described by creative director Sarah Burton as “almost like a homecoming in a way.” and sees the tailor roots from McQueen as “the backbone of the label”: exceptional tailoring. The store will show the entire menswear collection and provide an in store bespoke tailoring service, and is set to open next year.
Modern Artisan in womenswear on the catwalk has seen a big focus on laser cut dresses, seen at Valentino and Chloe to name a few. The colour is kept to a minimal white for an emphasis on the finely cut detail, and sometimes with a contrast lining to add another dimension to the garment. Unexpected pocket placements have added the tailored influence to womenswear, with Costume National using a nod towards the menswear with sleeveless blazers adorning cut and paste techniques in a bid to recreate the trend. Directional ranges will see contrast as a big influence for the trend, using floral lace underneath utility workwear, as seen at Véronique Leroy.
The quality of a garment is obviously the reasoning behind the steep prices we see every day on the luxury market. “Heritage is so important within our brand. You can’t buy history.” Rostron stated. For a craftsman to make a Hermes Birkin bag it takes 48 hours, whereas a study by the Chinese Labor Watch in November 2011 showed that workers in a Chinese factory were required to manufacture around 30-40,000 garments per day. Factory workers are required to work between 12 and 15 hours per day to hit these targets, and students who were employed over the summer at the factories were paid as little as 45 RMB (US $7) for a full days work. The numbers are shocking, but prove that you are paying for the sustainability and ethics of the product, not just the brand name.
Luxury sales are on the incline, showing that consumers are looking for that extra something. They don’t want to be seen in the same garment as three different people as they’re walking to work, they want to turn heads as they wear something personal to them, something that has been handmade and tweaked to exactly their measurements for that invaluable fit. Ugg Australia have noticed a decline in sales, as they realise that for a product so easily copied on the high street, the celebrity influence that made sales soar last year has rubbed off. Celebrities that adorned the design before have stopped wearing the boots in a bid to be different from the mass population. This shows the difference between designer and luxury, and is one of the reasons why the luxury market is doing well. No amount of money can buy the dedication and skill that goes into producing something that is truly a timeless piece.
Todays consumers seem to be searching for a meaning in whatever product they purchase, buying into the knowledge that their product will last and age with them. The story of the modern artisan trend is a revival of the old, combined with the technical innovations of the present. Handmade, local crafts are seeing a reoccurrence, with the amount of market stalls adorned with beautiful hand produced pieces rising dramatically. The impersonal, mass produced garments that were so popular only a few years ago are being rejected by todays consumer, who want to touch and feel something that has been through its own journey, made from the love of the skill that has created it.
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