May 6, 2015
Brands are coming together for London Craft Week to remind consumers of the importance of fine craftsmanship and its essential role in the luxury industry.
London Craft Week is a new event that will take place from May 6-10, highlighting all elements of craft and bringing together skilled craftsmen and brands from around the world. Fine craftsmanship is an important element of luxury, and brands can help form closer connections and justify expensive prices by reminding consumers of the extensive work that goes into creating products.
“Similar to fashion week, London Craft Week is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on a particular on areas of expertise, using London as a global stage for creativity," said Guy Salter, chairman of London Craft Week.
“For brands who encapsulate exceptional, stand-out makers and materials, London Craft Week allows them to stand out from the crowd," he said.
Arts and crafts
The aim behind London Craft Week is to give consumers an opportunity to see products as more than objects, emphasizing how they were made and who makes them, thus giving the objects history and meaning. This inaugural year will be a chance for London Craft Week to establish itself as an informative event that visitors can look forward to in the future.
Vacheron Constantin is known for its elegant watches
London Craft Week has been made possible with the help of a number of partners. Richemont-owned Vacheron Constantin is the founding partner of the event, and Walpole and the Mayor of London are both strategic partners. Together they will aim to bring more awareness to the importance of craft and the talent and effort that goes into making products.
During the week, visitors will be able to tour craftsmen’s studios, workshops, galleries and shops, experiencing the many different stages of the creative process. There will also be specific events hosted by brands or individual craftsmen.
Fortnum & Mason will participate in London Craft Week
Walpole will be hosting a seminar entitled Walpoles Crafted Seminar for Maker Entrepreneurs to provide aspiring craftsmen with more knowledge about the trade and career possibilities. The Crafts Council will host the exhibition “What is Luxury?” asking viewers to question the meaning of the term and the industry itself.
Department stores Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges will be hosting events, while brands including British apparel and accessories label Mulberry and British luxury goods house Asprey will be involved. British automaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will have a showroom where visitors can learn about the design and craftsmanship that goes into making its vehicles.
Rolls-Royce will have a showroom as part of London Craft Week
"The Crafted at Fortnum & Mason features over 25 leading designer-makers of Walpole’s Crafted alumni and its class of 2014 through demonstrations and talks by glass artist Michael Ruh, conceptual milliner Emma Yeo, ceramicist Billy Lloyd and leather saddler Mia Sabel amongst others," said Michelle Emmerson, chief executive officer of Walpole. "The showcase brings to life the breadth and depth of British craft.
"The exhibition will then continue for two months so that the public has time to plan a trip to make their bespoke orders from the cream of the UK’s craft-makers," she said.
Asprey, a brand known for its craftsmanship, will participate
Made to measure
This is not the first time that luxury brands have come together to highlight the importance of craftsmanship.
In 2014, British apparel and accessories label Mulberry gave consumers an up-close look at how its Bayswater handbag is made with a branded tent at the Wilderness festival in Oxfordshire, England.
The tent, labeled “Mulberry Loves Craft,” let consumers witness the brand’s craftsmanship as well as make a personalized bracelet of their own. Creating an active way for consumers to experience the craftsmanship of the brand will likely help the message stick with participants (see story).
Some brands choose to use social media to promote craftsmanship. For example, French jeweler Chaumet gave consumers an inside look into its creation process with a social video focused on the making of the Josephine ring.
The video took the viewer on a journey through the design of the ring and its assembly, from the initial stone selection to the crafting, setting and polishing of the ring and ultimately to the quality control of the final product. The video gave consumers a chance to experience the incredible amount of labor that goes into the making of a piece of Chaumet jewelry and the unique qualities that every piece possesses (see story).
London Craft Week will remind consumers about the importance of craftsmanship in an enjoyable and interactive way.
“Craftsmanship has never been more valued,” Walpole's Ms. Emmerson said. “Customers want to understand the provenance and rich narrative behind their luxury creation – they want to know what goes into their hand-stitched leather Mulberry Bayswater bag or meticulously handcrafted piece of jewelry such as an iconic Boodles ‘Ashoka’ cut diamond ring.
“Public events like London Craft Week and our Crafted exhibition at Fortnum & Mason put British craft firmly on the luxury agenda," she said. "It is vital to nurture the next generation of British makers to preserve and protect these unique skills.”
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York