Why craftmanship in fashion is a good thing for (all) women

Bolivia_Artisan_largeLet us reflect on the role of crafts in the lives of women around the world. Next time you contemplate a purchase from an artisan or creative community, consider the following points :

The act of making beautiful objects with our hands is a sacred act that women have been engaged in since practically the beginning of time.
Craftsmanship connects us as women. Craft has sprung up as a pillar of cultural identity in virtually ever corner of the world. From the batik textile dying process in Indonesia, known locally as “the art of women’s hands” to elaborate Maasai beading in Kenya or backstrap loom weaving in Peru, women have been expressing themselves through garment-based craft for centuries. In a world today that is increasingly divided and continually unkind to women, we can find healing, strength, and beauty in what we make with our hands.

Craftsmanship gives women economic opportunity. Not only is incorporating craftsmanship into fashion a beautiful way to connect with women through shared artistry and creative expression, it is a way to truly support fellow women economically. The art of making is something that can be done from home, which is not a fact to be taken lightly considering that the majority of the world’s women face unsafe or unhealthy environments in the workplace. For many, they are family leaders, and craft gives them the means to earn a sustainable income while caring for their children. Craft production is the 2ndlargest employer of women in developing economies and 70% of garment production is estimated to be done by women.

Craftsmanship is a study in the beauty of imperfection. In an industry in which the way things look is important, in which airbrushing and staged and styled Instagram feeds are ubiquitous, there is much we can learn about the perfection of imperfection through craftsmanship. The nature of handmade is to be imperfect and therein lies its beauty. That imperfection makes a garment one-of-a-kind and something to be treasured. In a mass produced world in which fashion runs the risk of homogenization, craftsmanship reintroduces the importance of being true to oneself and embracing ones supposed “flaws.” These are the hallmarks of real beauty.