Burberry Pairs Up With The New Craftsmen To Salute The Artisans

Laura Piety


Image: Dan Medhurst. Craftsmanship on display at Makers House

Burberry showed its first see-now-buy-now collection on Monday at Makers House during London Fashion Week. While the brand is known for its commitment to innovation and technology, from upending the fashion calendar (and with that traditional consumer purchase models) to their future-focused digital strategy; it is Burberry’s history and heritage that truly anchors its dreamworld.

In addition to the presenting the show this season, they also partnered with The New Craftsmen, a company that as Vanity Fair has noted, is ‘a sanctuary for British craft.’ The partnership was brokered to cement this celebration of Burberry’s heritage, but also English craftsmanship more generally, by spotlighting the “methods, materials and makers” at the renovated Makers House, which now occupies the (equally iconic) space that was previously Foyles book store in London’s Soho.

The decor of the House, reminiscent of an old English country home and the painterly aesthetic of the Bloomsbury Group, (as an aside, a copy of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando was primary at the show itself and in part inspired the collection), is a mix of lived-in comfort and refined luxury, again exhibiting the seeming paradox that Burberry, and notably Christopher Bailey, is so adept at combining. “We start with the history of our company with everything we do, then we build on it, push and challenge it, and make sure it’s relevant. I love it when worlds blend together,” he notes.

It’s not often that the makers and artisans find themselves on display in such a physical manner in the luxury space, and in an interview with Architectural Digest Bailey also comments on the importance of being mindful of the hands that make the clothes we wear, and the story behind each individual garment:

“What I love about them is they celebrate the artisanal and the handcrafted, and they give a proper platform to people whose lives are dedicated to making things. I really admire people who commit to a skill and a craft, and then spend their career effecting it. We gave all these artisans the collection and the inspiration we’d used, and then they could come back inspired by that, so it’s kind of full circle.

But the real reason for this platform is because we wanted people to pause and realize that things don’t just come off machines. People often think that fashion goes into some kind of a machine and comes out the other side. There’s a huge creative process—the inspiration, the research, the design development, the fittings, the textiles, the prints, the drawings—and then it comes out into a beautiful jacket or bag or whatever it might be.”

This season Burberry has managed to navigate, or perhaps even build, the intersection between craftsmanship and technology, history and modernity, all while providing a peek behind the curtain of the fashion industry and reminding us of the artisans that make this industry go round.

Makers House is open to the public until September 27.