The Dying Art of Luxury Craftmanship

Have you seen a surge of “SHOP LOCAL” requests in the last couple of years? This is happening in towns all over the country and local business and store owners are realizing there is a huge online shopping shift occurring but what happens if the local stores are not being supported? There is a dying art of luxury craftmanship happening worldwide and it is important to take a minute and understand how.

Getting a “good” deal

Huge online sales are constantly being promoted around us and marketers now know that consumers want to feel like they are “getting a good deal”. But as we start to trend towards more and more online consumption we start to wonder who made these goods? Where are they coming from and who do they support?

I was born in Italy but raised in America in my teen and adult life. I remember first hand growing up in Italy surrounded by luxury stores where a pair of jeans cost anywhere from 75 to 100 Euro. On my last visit to Italy I noticed those stores no longer existed in my small town, in their place were stores where now a pair of jeans cost 10 Euro. At first everyone in town seemed excited about being able to have the “same” products at an affordable rate, however as the weeks went by they soon realized these jeans were NOT the same. From chap dye seeping into the wash to fraying of the jeans to just not fitting right, it wasn’t long before the town started to miss the artistry of those nice jeans they had once bought that many still wore as the quality had lasted them all these years. 

Shopping Local

Recently, back in the States, I went out and about my town and sales were up to 30% off with the change of season. That means those cute flip flops I had been eyeing were now a great price and even though maybe I couldn’t wear them now as the chilly air begins to form for the Autumn season, I can still keep them for next season and I supported a local business that next time I need a pair of shoes in a hurry for myself or my family that brick and mortar shop can still be there because of our local support. 

But it isn’t just about shopping local. We are seeing a trend, as educated consumers, we want to know what we are buying, where is it made? Who does this support? Essentially asking ourselves “where does the buck stop?”. It is important that we remind ourselves the value of craftmanship and to remember that not every product Is created equal.

What is craftmanship?

A good read in the bbn times explains the term craftmanship beautifully and author Rajh V Iyer states; “In the famed halls of Europe, craftsmanship is seen as fine art. They celebrate their artisans and train the next generation so that the art is never lost. Even the most famous fashion brands along with the mechanized processing, depend on the skills of these craftspeople. The methods they use are kept safe as closely-guarded secrets, ideas that are valuable and not easily given away. These old-age traditions and craft include everything from jewelry to leather goods. These crafts are held in high esteem, something that is talked of with pride and extolled. And furthermore, these crafts like the ones mentioned above are highly sought-after and seen as the marking of luxury.”

Also what needs to be understood about the true art of craftmanship is that it is a talent mostly passed down generation by generation and a dying art. The “mom and pop” shops start to get paid less and less seeing that large companies are able to produce more product at cheaper rates overseas. But these products ARE not equal and if you ever took a good look you can most certainly tell the difference in the material used.

Some companies have noticed the dying art of craftmanship. Businesses have put together plans to help keep what is quickly becoming an extinct way of creating by ensuring that the small business creating the products coming into your home and using real materials to ensure the quality of the project are being paid accordingly so that they are able to sustain their business and hopefully pass it on to generations beyond. This creates a future where the option to buy luxury items is still available and your support to local businesses and companies that are a part of the craftmanship initiative means you too are a part of something much bigger than you can even imagine with every purchase you make.

So while we all love a good deal, perhaps on our next purchase we can stop and ask ourselves,  where is my money going, who is it supporting and what am I contributing to?

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