Handcrafted Minima clutch in black

Slow fashion: is handcrafted clothes better?

As the move away from fast fashion continues, we’ve seen the rise in designers going back to basics.

Choosing to introduce handcrafted style into our collection, we learnt more time and effort goes into production. It had us questioning: is it better?

Understanding that not all handcrafted items are created equal, we explore the top five considerations when choosing handcrafted style.

It supports artisans.

Handcrafted items are made by skilled craft workers who create items by hand. Buying handcrafted means supporting an artisan that instills skill and art into their work.

Some go beyond art such as Haiti Design Co. that have a commitment to upskilling local artisans to help break the poverty cycle – it’s fashion with purpose.

Alexandra King oversized wool coat in tan
Alexandra King oversized wool coat in tan

It’s more likely to be small batch so not everyone will have the same item.

Making something by hand takes time which means designers are less likely to be able to produce thousands of garments or accessories in a short amount of time. Generally, handcrafted items are made in smaller batches which means less waste in resources and overproduction. However this isn’t a given: if fair labour is key for you, be sure to ask about the label’s labour practices.

If small batch and unique designs are important to you, Pamela Card jewellery may be one to add to your collection. Made by the designer herself, Pamela focuses on small batch and made to order pieces that respond to demand.

Pamela Card handcrafted Medina necklace
Pamela Card handcrafted Medina necklace

Emphasis is on the details.

Handcrafted is a meticulous process, with quality and attention to detail being key. While it adds value, using machines in production doesn’t necessarily change that – it’s the process behind production that is just as important in ensuring quality and detail.

It has character.

Relying on someone to make the garment or accessory entirely by hand means no two items are identical, adding character and value.

It may affect the bottom line.  

Being more labour intensive means it takes a little longer to get the item finished. This can affect labour costs which in turn, is passed on to the buyer.

If keeping within budget is key, choose designers that produce handcrafted fashion at more accessible prices. Western Australia accessories brand Minima use no machines in making their items, however their prices remain reasonable.

Handcrafted Minima clutch in black
Handcrafted Minima clutch in black

So it is better?

Handcrafted is a unique choice: it’s what it represents and means to the wearer. For some, labour intensive items represent value and may be favored over those that are mass-produced; however it’s a personal decision. Whether or not it’s handcrafted, it’s the process and what that represents that differs. Only you can decide whether it’s better based on what you value in fashion.

September 9, 2018

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