Before the industrial era (and, for certain sectors, before globalisation), craft was the only way of making and buying things; today it is not a necessity, it is a choice. In this article, the second in our five-part series dedicated to Craftsmanship in modern times, we explore why, in the age of convenience and expediency, consumers are increasingly choosing handmade over more affordable industrially made products.
PROTECTING OUR SENSE OF INDIVIDUALITY.
Virtually everything we buy is standardised and mass-produced. And it can’t be denied that industrialised production has made lives more convenient and things cheaper to buy. But while consumers have embraced and benefited from mass-produced products like smartphones, they are also increasingly longing for something different, for something to set them apart. Buying handmade contributes to a sense of exclusivity, and it is a way to affirm our individuality. A desire for craftsmanship is at the forefront of a search for something meaningful, that you do not see everywhere on anybody; a niche product, whose value is in the many hours of work that went into designing and making it, rather than just in the brand it carries. Something that does not come from a mould, something that is considerate and deliberate.
THE ONE OF A KIND APPEAL OF CRAFTSMANSHIP.
In a world where most goods display little or no originality, the one-of-a-kind appeal of products made by hand plays a critical role. Handmade products are unique, they can’t be duplicated. No two of them are exactly alike. Variations in colour, texture, shading, shape and grain are inherent to a handmade item. Each product is a unique display of craftsmanship. Each has its own character to be admired. When you buy handmade, you are buying a commitment to originality, a guarantee that no other piece will ever be the same. When you buy handmade you celebrate the inherent variety in handmade goods that allow you to more accurately express your own style and personality.
A VERY SPECIAL STORY TO TELL.
The strong demand for handmade products can also be explained with the search for unique brand stories. Handmade items often have a story behind them, whether it's about the maker, the materials used, or the origin - a purpose and inspiration for their existence. Handmade products offer a sense of authenticity that mainstream products can’t offer. The Artisans have spent many years learning a skill, perfecting a technique and pouring their passion into what they make. Products made by hand have a very special story of a lifetime woven into them. This increases their uniqueness and makes them more relatable and special.
HANDMADE IS THE REAL THING.
A renewed focus in our culture on craftsmanship is also driven by consumers' desire to rediscover tactile things. Living in the era of instant feed of digital images the need for tangible and real materials arises. This is one more way that craft feels different from mass production. The scale, quantities, and volume in industrial production can be so large, and this feels quite abstract. Craft, by comparison, feels more concrete and close to the body. And as wonderful as the digital world is, it is virtual, untouchable. In some ways it connects, in other ways it disconnects - it can be all image and no substance. Handmade is a balance to this tendency. Actual objects that are made by hand have a visceral connection to the real world and to real individuals.
HANDMADE IS FOREVER NOT FOR JUST NOW.
Some of us believe in mindful spending. Mass-produced items are perceived as single-use objects. A culture of ‘if it’s broken, don’t fix it – just replace it’ is now so prevalent that we dispose of things that are perfectly fine. We want an upgrade, the latest version, the next best thing. Handmade goes beyond the now. When consumers invest in something of limited availability, they know they are getting an item that not many others have. This increases the sense of having something special and ensures that the product is really valued and cherished. With so much attention put into these products, they tend to last much longer, not just until the next season’s new trends. Here is where handmade excels – there’s no need for an upgrade as it is perfect already. And it’s exactly the minute imperfections that make it so perfect, unique and desirable.
Thank you for reading our article and sharing our passion for handcrafted products.
This article is part of a five-part series. Read our previous article on modern Craftsmanship, IT'S A KIND OF MAGIC.
the editorial team.
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At UNTAMED STREET we embrace craftsmanship. UNTAMED STREET collections are all artfully handcrafted in Italy, in the Medieval town of Montegranaro, Marche with locally sourced materials. Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise with our suppliers - small, family-owned workshops whose obsession for craftsmanship matches our own.