“Craft” might seem like it’s for the amateurs, and “fashion” for the auteurs. Yet we live in an age where creativity and innovation are increasingly found in collaborations between makers and users, crafters and designers, designers and manufacturers, and in the loosening of the boundaries between them. Open sourcing and the emergence of DIY everything (from apps to dresses to education) are THE design stories of the 21st century.
If the philosophers and economists are right, such stories reflect renewed possibilities for building communities, for growing businesses, and for practicing everyday forms of enchantment, ethics, and sustainability. It is time to expand our way of thinking about the relationship between craft and fashion, between the self-made and the ready-to-wear, between fashion as intellectual property and fashion as an open source. What can we learn from the fields of music, product design, and education? Does a backward glance help us see how fashion was at the forefront of these innovations from the start? What is a Vogue pattern if not an open source? What are les petits mains other than artists?
SHIFTING THOUGHTS ON DESIGN, FASHION, COMMUNITY, CRAFT & DIY
Over the four days of New York Design Week (May 19-22, 2012), Alabama Chanin–in collaboration with its fashion and design partners–is organizing a series of talks, workshops, and gatherings with leaders in the fashion, design, and craft/DIY communities. The events bring together a dynamic combination of industry leaders to explore the ways in which the fashion, art, and design worlds are inextricably linked to the world of craft/DIY and how each of these worlds elevates the others. We look to create an intersection–a meeting point–to explore, discuss, and celebrate the role of local production, handmade, and craft/DIY in fashion and design as a way to empower individuals, businesses, and communities.
We recently shared companies that are making quality products in the United States. To continue this ‘Made in America’ post from last week, we feature another round of companies who practice the same excellence and pride.
Some of these products have been staples in my daily wear for ages; they’ve held up to the test of time. I look forward to incorporating newer products into my lifestyle for years to come. Please share with us your experience with these makers, as well as any other companies, artisans, or manufacturers from the United States that have a presence in your wardrobe, and life.
Today I received a beautifully packaged c.d. from the talented Tift Merritt. The c.d. features many of her new songs that will certainly be heard during our work days in the studio.
We had the pleasure of hearing Tift’s amazing voice at her performance for the opening of our pop-up shop at the Billy Reid store in New York.
We hope to see Tift in New York, or perhaps Alabama, very soon.
As we were in the planning stages of MakeShift, Andrew Wagner told me that he didn’t want to call our talk at The Standard, East Village a “Panel Discussion,” but rather a Circus, or Carnival, or Party, or Making, Doing, Conversing—anything but a “Panel Discussion.” This idea made a real impact on the how the event (and all of the events around MakeShift) unfolded. We didn’t quite reach the level of Ringling Brothers, but I think that we started a beautiful conversation that is continuing to GROW.
Today, I take inspiration in a book (and my Mother’s Day present this year from Butch and Maggie) which has quickly become one of my favorites.
Another MAKESHIFT thought-
“No one can make NYC’ers sing and sew like Alabama Chanin.”
Read more for the whole story:
Today we share our final MAKESHIFT post (for this year) of observations and thoughts from participants.
Many have already written, photographed, or posted about their experiences during the week.
Ellie Levine at STC Craft created a timeline of the MAKESHIFT events – a beautiful recap using images and social media platforms which you can read here.
Compiled below are reflections and lingering thoughts to help continue our MAKESHIFT conversation into next year.
Keep in mind (and close to heart) what is valuable and inspiring as you design, create, and make.
As part of MAKESHIFT, we collaborated on a pop-up shop with the Billy Reid team in their New York store. The shop was called ‘Crafting Fashion,’ and featured hand-crafted garments, hats, shoes, jewelry, and home décor from seasoned designers who pair fashion and craft beautifully.
We encourage you to join with crafters, makers, and artists to curate pop-up shops in your community. Find a space- or make a space, work towards creative collaboration, and share your vision with your community.
If you’ve already done so, we’d love to hear about it.
We finished our week of MAKESHIFT with Crafting Design, a chair workshop hosted at Partners & Spade in New York City.
From the New York Times piece “Pull Up a Chair, Then Fix It” by Andrew Wagner:
“Last Saturday, as part of a conference called MakeShift, Natalie Chanin, the founder of the fashion label Alabama Chanin, held a workshop to rehabilitate some of these castoffs at Partners & Spade on Great Jones Street. The event, which she called Crafting Design, was dedicated to resurrecting the bent, twisted and broken remnants of what the poet David McFadden has described as ‘the most ubiquitous and important design element in the domestic environment’: the chair.”
After taking time to reflect on our recent week in New York for MAKESHIFT, I’m already thinking about MAKESHIFT 2013.
Here are some highlights from the conversation at The Standard Talks. We reported the MAKESHIFT events here on the blog throughout the week, and had great press coverage from the New York Times, Style.com, Page Six, and Jezebel. Here’s a recap of our memorable conversation.
From The Standard Talks panel discussion:
Andrew Wagner began with a grand introduction and also referenced Ettore Sottsass’s essay, ‘When I Was a Very Small Boy’.