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    On the market: the rise of artisanal fashion

    Heim, Hilde ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2533-5953 (2019) On the market: the rise of artisanal fashion. In: Fashion and Contemporaneity: realms of the visible. At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries (102). Brill, Amsterdam, pp. 13-41. ISBN 9789004392250 (ebook); 9789004368668 (paperback)

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    The recognition that small-scale entrepreneurs have emerged, survived and even thrived within the current global creative economy has seen growth in artisanally produced products including craft beer, wood-fired bread and custom made clothing. The rise of artisanal fashion forms a part of this current trend and can be attributed to several effects of the globalised creative economy. These include opportunities and challenges in the small-scale fashion business sector through the development of communication technology as well as changed consumer preferences. The motivations of practitioners themselves have also fuelled this trend, revealing fashion designers’ interest in seeking autonomy and flexibility as well as a more creatively fulfilling career. The use of the term artisanal has been associated with a move away from automated manufacture and towards products that are hand-crafted and somehow imbued with care. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of what defines artisanal fashion, how the contemporary artisanal studio has emerged, and if this is a subset of small-scale fashion design that represents innovation in fashion design entrepreneurship. This study introduces the practices of four small-scale fashion designers working locally in Brisbane, Australia. The investigation is based on journalists’ reports and the social media blogs of the designers and others. The aim of the study is to uncover activities and strategies that differ from mainstream processes, to determine how both designers and intermediaries (bloggers) define artisanal fashion. While these small-scale fashion designers have opportunities and challenges in common, an understanding of the combination of process, entrepreneurship, philosophy and aesthetics appears to differentiate artisanal fashion from other independent fashion design. This study suggests that ‘artisanal fashion’ can indeed be defined as a subset of small-scale fashion design and entrepreneurship and therefore, represents a new fashion category in the current creative economy.

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