I started this topic to discover how everyone's thoughts are about artisans in general, and how you perceive the growing counter-movement against "poorly made" products.
My name is Jeroen and I'm from The Netherlands, and I've been in retail management since 2000. I've had the privilege to be working closely with Mr. Raymon of Red Cloud & Co. from China and the guys from Tuckshop & Sundry Supplies in Singapore in the past, and I frequently visit denim artisans in Europe such as Manuel Canova of IMjiT35020 Manufactus and Mohsin Sajid of Endrime (to name a few).
In 2011 I visited Kurabo and Collect/Japan Blue and it was an eye-opener for me. I was always very keen on denim, as I was obsessed with the work of Francois Girbaud, and being able to see the craftsmanship and respect for tradition they have in Japan, was amazing.
Currently I have a site going which, amongst others, focuses on telling stories about artisans/makers. I used to run Union of Artisans platform, of which the new site is an offspring. I'm also the co-host of the Artisan Challenge, which runs alongside the Denim World Championship (kudos to Megatron for that!).
Anyway, I've been doing quite some research on how the millennial generation is trying to be more aware of how they consume and that the so-called "hipster" is actually very good for the global economy. Interestingly so, this movement has parallels with the much-discussed Third Wave Coffee Movement which is about coffeemakers and coffee-consumers going back to the roots of coffee and truly want to know "where does this bean come from and where is it going now".
There's an article on the millennial generation, from a while back though, on The Guardian which discusses a few similar points to this topic. Based on that article, miss Amy Leverton (Denimdudes book) also wrote an article on how denim is moving forward in a more conscious way but also discusses how retail deals with it.
I'm very keen to discuss with you all here how you perceive denim development and your thoughts on artisans, or perhaps the misuse/abuse of the word artisan. There are loads of brands popping up nowadays claiming to be artisanal, handmade, whatever but basically make the poorest of poorest product in the market. This, in my opinion, plays a part in the mass-chain stores such as H&M and Zara claiming they too make "authentic" "tailor-made" denim with a horrifying stitched-on selvedge ID.
For me personally, I hope I can be a small voice within the industry showing true artisans and how they care for their craft. I believe the world forgot many beautiful crafts and that they're slowly returning to the industry, and more important, return to retailers that start caring more on the WHY and HOW it is made instead of WHERE it's made and the best margin. Compared to most segments of the fashion industry, the denim industry is one that can more easily be filtered and has a very lively community of consumers/denimheads that sometimes even know more about the product and "making of" than some retailers or even makers. To see how this industry is embracing craftsmanship is a blessing and therefor I hope you want to get into the conversation and express your opinion/thoughts/annoyances etcetera.
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