Craftsman's renaissance

Demand for well-designed and finely made things was enhanced during the boom. But leaner times won't spell the end for the craft professionals if they reach out to find new customers, says Emma de Vita.

Climb the Acropolis to the Parthenon and you'll hear the tap of chisel against marble as stonemasons restore the crumbling Athenian temple. The sound has been heard on this hill for more than two millennia. The long craftsmen tradition worked hard to survive mechanisation, industrialisation and mass consumerism, and just when it looked like the final 'Made in China' nail was being hammered into its coffin, it stages a comeback.

'There is definitely a resurgence for craftsmanship and for Britishness,' declares Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye, CEO of London department store Liberty. 'Everything that has something to do with longevity, simplicity and craftsmanship is doing very well.'

Bespoke - a concept that large luxury businesses have embraced since the turn of the century - is in vogue. 'If one looks back to what big brands have been doing for the past eight years,' says Anda Rowland, director of Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard, 'they've all been trying to get that element of personalisation back into their brands.'

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