by Katie Antoniou
Whilst there is no shortage of experts practising traditional crafts in the UK, it can be hard for them to infiltrate the retail industry and make a living from their work. Developed by Arts and Business and Walpole, and funded by American Express, Crafted is a programme which pairs up members of the new generation of craftspeople with mentors from the luxury brand industry. Launching its second, Crafted’s main ambition is to increase sustainability and stimulate business growth amongst craft entrepreneurs by providing them with vital mentoring and business advice, while connecting luxury businesses with a new generation of skilled craftsmen.
Bill Amberg, a Crafted mentor, is a keen supporter of the programme: “The Crafted programme’s genius is providing the push needed for makers to see their passions turn into a livelihood.”
The list of 2010-2011 participants includes jewellery designer Jacqueline Cullen, who will be mentored by Georgia Fendley, brand director of Mulberry and Katherine Elizabeth millinery who will be mentored by Mark Hales, creative director of Designspark. Both are sure to be names to watch in the fashion accessories world.
Margo Selby works with fashion, textiles and interiors and will be mentored by Mark Henderson, deputy chairman of Gieves and Hawkes, where the Crafted launch was held last week on Savile Row.
Here at MIEN Magazine, we are huge fans of the Letterpress tradition,so we’re thrilled to see Kelvyn Smith and his letterpress typography being mentored by Richard Stevens, creative director of Forpeople. Other participants craft silverware, ceramics and furniture, and Crafted will also be working with Breanish Tweed, based on the Isle of Lewis.
Here’s to more big companies like American Express promoting traditional skills and supporting independent craftspeople. Hopefully the demise of ‘fast fashion’ in favour of ethical fashion will have a knock on effect in the crafts world, encouraging people to invest in one timeless, well-made, one-off item rather than buying a new, mass-produced Ikea product every time the trends change.
Top photograph: ‘New collection’ by Katherine Elizabeth, photograph by Ivan Bellaroba