With the fight against fast fashion rapidly gaining traction amongst consumers, more and more people are seeking clothing and accessories that value individuality, sustainability and durability. Cue the rise of the artisan brand.
But what exactly is artisanal fashion?
A quick internet search will tell you that an artisan is a “skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or decorative”.
In that vein, when you choose to invest in an artisanal fashion product, you’re not just investing in a piece of fabric. Instead, you’re investing in a work of art. You’re honouring skills that have been honed with hours of practice and dedication. You’re actively taking part in the fight against fast fashion.
Colville Leather and artisanal fashion
Artisanal fashion is all about distinctive, quality items that are built to last. This is something that we at Colville Leather are truly passionate about.
We are on a mission to reintroduce a generation to the longevity and beauty of traditionally-made leather accessories. In this damaging ‘throw away’ culture that’s swamping the fashion industry, our products are designed to last a lifetime. They don’t require regular replacement unlike many mass-produced goods. Instead, our belts, wallets, bags and keychains will grow old with their owners, sharing memories and earning trust.
Identifying true artisan fashion brands
The word ‘artisanal’ has become something of a marketing buzzword in the fashion industry of late. Unfortunately, its overuse means that it can be tricky to identify true artisan brands from all those companies simply cramming the term into their marketing collateral to attract the attention of conscious consumers.
Fear not though - we’re here to provide all the artisan inspiration you need. We’ve rounded up eight UK artisan brands we love. Many of these brands are based in the South West of England. We’re very lucky to have such a wealth of talented local artisans in our little corner of the country. These artisans are passionate about reintroducing people to the charm and individuality of handmade goods, just like us at Colville Leather.
The London Artisan (TLA) is a curated marketplace in the heart of East London. It brings together over 50 contemporary designer makers for a two-day design event every quarter. A unique celebration of independent producers and makers, TLA offers a diverse, high-quality shopping experience for those who are passionate about handmade, organic and sustainable goods. Among the artisan artefacts on offer are ceramics, glassware, textiles and jewellery.
The next TLA event takes place on the 13th and 14th of April 2019 at Old Truman Brewery, East London.
This quirky artisan fashion brand specialise in unique, colourful and novelty socks. Each pair of socks represents a collaboration with a different designer, each one telling a different story inspired by an unforgettable experience.
The sibling team behind Look Mate are firm believers that it’s the small details that complete a look: “The most discreet detail, the flash of the colour, the pattern of your socks, can be the most important. It can spark a conversation.”
From a humble farm workshop just outside of Falmouth, Ali Goodman designs and makes hardy workwear and outdoor accessories. She creates outerwear, aprons, rucksacks and small carry goods, all developed in close collaboration with her local community of creatives and explorers.
Passionate about reducing the waste of the textile industry, Francli take an inspiring approach to their handmade creations. They salvage high-performance pre- and post-consumer waste materials, rescuing them from a life in landfill. Their desired materials include military surplus, discontinued climbing equipment, leather upholstery and boat factory off-cuts. These are supported with quality British-made fabrics and hardware.
Reflecting Colville Leather’s own artisanal values, Francli are passionate about slow, purpose-led design that enables makers and consumers to reconnect with nature.
With 42 years of high-quality shoe-making behind them, Conker represent British craftsmanship at its finest. This Devon-based artisan fashion brand produce bespoke leather shoes for men, women and children, with timeless design and sustainability at the heart of every pair. Based in the same small South West town as Colville Leather, Conker meticulously craft their shoes using traditional cordwaining techniques. They are passionate about making the best use of the natural resources available, just like us.
On a mission to take the made-to-measure tailoring experience to the next level, Zebel provide a superior one-to-one service perfectly suited to the modern gentleman. They have harnessed the combined skill of the finest tailoring specialists and expert craftspeople to remove all the unpleasant surprises so commonly associated with the tailoring experience.
“Handmade in the UK, inspired by the world.” Wanderlust Life are best known for their charming collection of understated and minimal jewellery. Each piece is handcrafted in their North Devon studio, and inspired by travel and creative living.
As well as artisan jewellery, Wanderlust Life founder, Georgie, carefully curates an edit of beautiful and functional homeware products to sell in their Life Store. These thoughtfully-selected products complement the brand’s minimalist aesthetic, each one representing the beauty of raw, handmade talent.
Based in rural Devon, Nkuku work with artisans all over the world to create a unique and beautiful portfolio of hand-crafted homewares. Their brand is built around their values of ethical trading, eco-friendly business and handmade products. Values that we at Colville Leather also share - which is why Nkuku are one of our favourite UK artisan brands!
Image: Spencer Cobby Photography
Known for their unique handmade collection of intriguing jewellery pieces is UK artisan brand Industrial Jewellery. Designer Hila Rawet Karni is inspired by the beauty of raw industrial materials. She loves transforming rubber, springs, rope and other unusual materials into wearable works of art. Their pendants, cufflinks and bracelets are perfect for the modern man looking to stand out from the crowd and make a unique statement with his accessories. Each item showcases an intriguing blend of retro and modern styles to create a captivating accessory for the conscious consumer.