Source - A tribal woman making her cloth (Accessed 17 June 2021)
Nowadays, the trend of more conscious and sustainable consumption is growing in many markets around the world. The fashion industry is not far from this movement and keeps innovating year after year in order to adapt to the new market demands.
While the fashion industry is expected to grow after the recession left by the pandemic, customers' habits have changed looking for slower consumption and garments with better durability, hence better quality. It is expected that companies will look for new ways to produce and market clothing, thinking about the traceability of the supply chain and close production, which generates a link with the brand. (Elisa Regardera, 2021)
But, what do artisans contribute to this new fashion orientation?
Artisans, from their own small or medium-sized businesses, are showing ethical and sustainable solutions to respond to consumer demands. All over the world, we find initiatives and social enterprises that connect the talents of designers, artisans and micro-producers.
In addition, with an approach more aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 agenda, handmade fashion is one of the tools in the search for more responsible apparel industry. The impacts are reflected not only in the environment but also in society and the economy. (Ethics Institution Foundation, n.d.)
The low production scale, characteristic of slow fashion, since products are unique and are handmade by each artisan.
The preservation of traditions, weaving or dyeing techniques has a meaning within the communities. This heritage is maintained from generation to generation through the elaboration of the pieces.
The use of more sustainable resources. The communities value and protect the environment, and therefore ensure that their processes do not harm the environment.
The value of fair work, where schedules and payment according to the activities performed are respected. It is important to highlight that since women represent the majority, there is economic independence that allows their families to develop.
Currently, the trend of handmade comes from different parts of the world. For example, within Latin American fashion we find MolaSasa and Escvdo, Colombian and Peruvian brands respectively. Both of them work with artisans from the communities, promoting sustainable and responsible work. The pieces of each community are slow-fashion and have a unique stamp of each artisan.
The fashion economy is changing, the new trends of sustainability and digitalization will allow this industry to continue advancing. Artisans and their traditions will be part of the new actors that will allow brands to continue adapting to new buyers.
Ethical Fashion Institute - EFI (s.f.) Ethics.
Europapress (2021) La industria de la moda “ha visto que su modo de operar no es sostenible”, según experta de UIC Barcelona.
MolaSasa (s.f.) Nuestro Mundo.
Chandran, Nyshka (2020) Elevating artisans: What luxury fashion can learn from social enterprises. Vogue Business
Escvdo (s.f.) Sustainability