Darlings, there is nothing that excites me more than fashion and craftsmanship and although I have been around the block a few times (I know you’re thinking I don’t look a day over 25 - let me tell you, fibreglass fillers hide a multitude of sins!), I feel we are now in a moment where both are being celebrated simultaneously. Hurrah!
The recent collaboration between British heritage fashion brand Burberry and British luxury craft retailer The New Craftsmen, is one where both fashion and handcrafting come together in perfect harmony.
Held at Makers House, Soho, London, this fascinating showcase emanates inspiration and creativity from the very moment you walk through the quintessentially English courtyard. A sumptuous sanctuary that exudes an exquisitely calming scent with soothing ambient music, it’s a far cry from the hectic hurly-burly adjacent streets.
Upon entry to the ground floor of Makers house, a hive of craft activity and pop-up work stations await you, where you can witness craft in action. I watched beguiled. Book binders, sculptors and artists worked away oblivious to my presence; it was as if I were peeping into their very studios. The space seemed private and special, I had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes look (albeit a staged one), and an insight to their unique skill sets.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a green woven carpet with a familiar motif leading the way up a grand staircase – I was intrigued as to what awaited me at the top. On reaching the final step I was disoriented to find an elite FROW crowd directly in my line of vision (I prefer not to name drop darlings but let's just say one of the Delevingne sisters was within arm’s length). I stood in awe, immersed in the display, and then the penny dropped. I remembered where I had seen that motif… the Burberry SS17 collection, of course! Surrounded by the full collection dovetailed with video footage from the live show, I felt as though I were there amongst the exclusive buzz aside the runway.
The impressive nature of this installation has made me think. Today, we're constantly invited into the world of fashion brands, models, artists and designers. Practically anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past decade has succumbed to social media in some way, posting snippets of their private lives and thoughts – an intimate behind the scenes view of their character. But when those scenes are extended to more than just an image or tidbit of information, it has the ability to elevate our perceptions about the person or brand. And that is exactly what this showcase has done for Burberry and The New Craftsman. Moreover, the ingenious pairing of the two brands has highlighted an aspect of each that perhaps we never truly considered before. A very clever move indeed!
Rather than simply presenting the final product, both luxury brands have chosen to commemorate the journey of its creation and the skills involved. Thus, amplifying the all-important finer details, and showcasing a process that should be appreciated. We see here, a new way of promoting creativity. Not just reliant on the media to speak to us, but to have real artisans demonstrate their skills and do the talking. After all, handmade production can be hard to come by these days, so let’s shout about it!
This spectacular showcase is open to the public until the 27th September 2016. For further details please visit The New Craftsmen website by clicking here.