Traditionally, the notion of craftsmanship is associated with the luxury industry due to the image of quality and sophistication conveyed by the « made by hand ». In recent years though, this image has been overused and even diluted by many brands to a point where there is now the need for a new vision of French luxury. More luxury companies have the means to pave the way and lead by example, starting with the relocation of their production, which is a crucial step in that direction.
To compensate for the additional costs of a non-outsourced, non-industrialized labor force, luxury brands need to increase the intangible value created by the multiple facets of fabrication – linked to a territory, the people who are part of it, their culture and heritage.
Publications such as Fendi’s Whispering Directory of Craftsmanship and Hermès’ Petit Lexique des Gestes or Chanel’s Métiers d’Art shows are good examples of initiatives launched by the brands to make the public discover as well as understand what is so special about them. They have moved on from traditional communication about their historic features and iconic collections towards an immersion into the reality of their daily work.
This means drawing attention to all the communities involved with the brand, the specificities of the manufacturing process, the origin of the raw materials and techniques used, in other words, everything that deals directly or indirectly with the notion of craftsmanship and allows to appreciate the true value of handcrafted or industrial objects.
For more brands to achieve this transition, they need to establish a dialogue not only with the public – through customer relationship management or bespoke strategies – but also with the craftsmen and industrials who contribute to the soul of their creations.
Photo Credit: Desrues