News & Thoughts

Is This Handmade?

I frequently get asked what to me is a rather confusing question. Members of the public enter my workshop and ask me "Is this handmade?".
bag drawing
It has always been a question that is a little bit confusing, taking into account my workspace is clear to see. For me that question therefore creates a series of questions rather than a clear answer of 'yes or no' which is the answer people are looking for. Would they think the workshop is fake and that all is imported from far a field. I simply don't know.

My first doubt is that if no machine has been invented to make clothes or accessories without intensive manual labour, that is to say hundreds of people sat at sewing machines (see photo below) would that not imply that virtually all products made by the fashion industry are handmade independent of their quality? By conclusion that would make the 'is it handmade' question redundant. As the question does not make sense now that we know that all these products are handmade , all be it in a factory, what are the implications of such a question and what is it that people really want to know?

Does this question mask some subliminal desire to hide a fundamental truth about human sweat and toil invested in the production of all such items? Is it less prestigious or less valuable to sit at a sewing machine in Asia rather than in Europe? Do we try to disconnect human involvement in cheap 'not handmade products' in order to clean our conscience when we purchase such fast fashion articles.

I assume that what people really should be asking is 'Did you make this?' or 'was this made here by you?' . However, the question they actually ask inspires many questions about how we see people who make things, the prestige, or lack of, that this invokes and the possible invisibility and anonymity that millions of workers in this industry are subject to. Also a certain suspicion towards retailers who market their products as handmade as being potential fraudsters. I offer more questions than answers, but it is definitely food for thought.
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In the heart of Barcelona I carefully craft hand made products for special people that want to stand out. Unique one offs made by myself. Only a handful of items produced every year for the fortunate few that get to own an 'af'.



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