Fashion – and its future – is about much more than artistic design and innovative materials. Culture, craft and the history of making clothes are important threads that weave together our clothes’ meaning. WhyWeCraft exists to support and reinforce this aspect of fashion – and, in doing so, to rewire the emotional connection we have with our clothes, so that we can love them for longer.
Drawing inspiration from the relationship that our ancestors had with their garments, WhyWeCraft creates immersive experiences for consumers, artisans and designers that take them closer to our cultural heritage of making. Designers are connected to local craftspeople, and take part in activities including hemp and linen processing, yarn spinning, weaving, pattern making and embroidery. Consumers input creative ideas, to be part of the collaborative process and strengthen their relationship with the final result.
Another focus for WhyWeCraft is supporting the legal rights of craftspeople. Through knowledge exchange, the project aims to ensure that craftspeople benefit from intellectual property rights (IPR), just like designers do.
WhyWeCraft is a project developed under the umbrella of the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative, which promotes and implements tools like the cultural trademark and benefit-sharing business models. Their aim is to foster socially and culturally sustainable collaborations between craftspeople and contemporary designers in the fashion business.
WhyWeCraft’s work is about ensuring cultural sustainability in fashion – which means supporting the transfer of textile knowledge and cultural expressions to future generations, so that the skills and wisdom of makers are not lost to history. Their vision of ‘craftsmanship for a green and equitable future’ would reconfigure the fashion industry around a craft-centric approach.
Monica Boța-Moisin and Raphael Schreiber, co-founders of WhyWeCraft, explain what fixing the future of fashion means to them. “It means integrating traditional textile knowledge and sustainable handcrafted production in contemporary textile and fashion value chains in a way that is increasing the general wellbeing of the people. We must imagine alternative business models which are not tied to the conventional capitalist growth philosophy, and instead ensure that community engagement and co-creation principles prevail.”
AtlasAction: Become a WhyWeCraft Ambassador and help make craftsmanship for a green and equitable future a reality. Connect the project to your networks of change-makers or become a corporate partner and foster community self-sustainability and well-being by tapping into heritage sources of knowledge. Get in touch and spread the word as #onevoiceforcraft.
Header image credit: Gabriel Motica
Monica Boța-Moisin and Raphael Schreiber, co-founders
WhyWeCraft are finalists in 2020’s European Social Innovation Competition, which is organised by the European Commission, with the support of a consortium of organisations. The consortium is led by Nesta Challenges and includes Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends. ‘Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion’ calls on applicants to find new, creative ways to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market, so that we can bring the joy back into fashion, without the harm.