A renewed interest for handcraft

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
Christmas is approaching, and even this year December sales are expected to rise, according to Mintel.
Among many markets set for the occasion, handmade products found their place in some parts of the city of London, as the industry seems to increase.

Renegade Craft Fair
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

On the twenty-second and the twenty-third of November, the Renegade Craft Fairtook place at the second floor in the OldTruman Brewery in East London.

Renegade is a network for handcraft makers, who meet at the annually fairs which are held in six cities – Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, London, and Portland.

First founded in 2003, Chicago, according to the organisers and stallers, the number of people attending these events has grown over the years.

DIY culture, “Do It Yourself”, is the basic concept of this kind of markets.
Craft adds unicity to a gift, was the answer of more than a half of the handmade products buyers to a Craft Council survey in 2010.

The authority also found that 6.8% is the Annual Average Increase in the Gross Value Added for the Craft industry, since 2008.

Why so significant?

Creativity is key” – said Mat Daly, Director of Development at the Renegade Craft Fair.
“The beauty of this event, the beauty of the makers and the people we work with is simply that they decide to do themselves.
“It is a DYO society – he continued - and people are just taking traditional forms, using their own creativity to make something traditional using their own voice and so it’s bringing a new life to craft”.

“I came here last year as a customer - said Jessie Gray, a staller at the Renegade Craft Fair -. It was a popular show, with lots of very creative designers. I wanted to be part of it this year”.

Renegade 1
(You can see these pictures in the Photo Gallery or on Flickr)

When asked about the reasons for a potential customer to buy handmade products, Zack Mclaughlin, who has attended the events for long time, answered me: “It’s more personal.
“You get to meet who made them, you get to hear how they made them, why they made them, who they are.
“I think it is nicer to know what’s behind the product rather than buying anything from the shelves”.

“Being a maker myself - said instead Heather Smith, another staller at the Fair -, I know that a lot of love goes into each product. You know it is not mass produced, it is rather a unique thing: you are not going to find someone else using it or wearing it that often”.

Naomi Celestin, whose creations welcome the visitors just at the entrance, emphasized the possible relation between the customer and the seller. “I think the customer really appreciates the stories that we have and how things are made”.

Successful ingredients

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
More than 100 craft makers came to show their works.
Passion and creativity are the key elements.

The friendly atmosphere prompts to rediscover the pleasure in handcrafting.
People enjoy these markets for the large variety of items as well as for the original skills shown in every product.

They offer the chance to find creative and unique products, for the ideal gift as well as for personal treats.

Moreover, by meeting the makers of these items, people may also discover the work behind the stalls.