LOSS OF SKILLS/
Why is it important to support artisans?
Artisanal is the model for slow fashion and changes our relationship to clothes. Understanding how artisans interacts with their social environment shows us how to be more compassionate toward the world beyond ourselves.
Our Philosophy for Slow Fashion
Slow Style – Seasonless Classics
REJECTION OF SEASONS AND TRENDS IN FASHION
Style is timeless – Fashion is timely
Artisans will never be able to participate in the world of fast fashion. This is because given the principles and seasonality that come hand in hand with artisanal production. Artisans cannot ignore the basic principles and have to work through a model built based on this. At RISA also our business model takes into account this inherent slowness and we solely adhere to timeless styles. Trends are never completely unoriginal and are not observed at RISA, as they always disappear fast or copy a previous fashion era.
Slow Production – Quality over Quantity
“ Slow fashion is a response to fast fashion, and artisanal craft is slowing down fast fashion.”
Who is considered a true artisan?
The definition of an artisan is a skilled laborer who “works with traditional techniques”. These are techniques that they have established and preserved for centuries by passing down the knowledge through generations. Artisanal techniques were created at a time when machine made, disposable fast fashion did not exist, the mentality attached to clothing had tremendously changed since then. When clothes were made by hand they inevitably and purposefully were made to last longer and to be mended if torn. The whole process, experience and attitude towards how we pick and care for what we wear has almost entirely disappeared.
SLOW PRODUCTION- SLOW DESIGN
The entire process of production is tied to variables like serendipities of weather, harvest cycles, religious festivals, celebratory customs, and the heavy, inherent reliance on the artisan themselves.
At RISA we value the exquisiteness of handmade pieces that are made to last a long time and are intentional in their commitment to sell what they value. This inherently means that at RISA we have a completely different design process as well. A lot of thought goes into the design as we strive to show respect to the craft of the artisans above everything. One way to honor their skill and the rich history of the textiles we use is to reinterpret textile heritage into clothing that tell stories of where and why they are made. With this we hope that their heritage and the symbols that their stories carry will positively influence the women who will wear these garments.
CHANGES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CLOTHES
If your relationship with your clothes changes, your self image simultaneously changes. If your self image shifts, the way you feel inside also shifts and thus your whole perspective on life. If you feel better, you will see differently and take different actions in your life. It has a ripple effect that is undermined and that should be re-embraced.
Compassion for your clothes arises as you start recognizing, appreciating and admiring the patience, labor, and skill that gave a life to your garment. To own a piece made artisinaly, is to value craftsmanship and it teaches us that clothes are not mere commodities that are easily disposable and replaceable. It is this mentality that has led us to the environmental crisis occurring today. Clothes made artisinaly are clothes made with love, and thus, demand to be cared for with love. This reconnects us to what truly matters. On the other hand, fast fashion disregards the supply chain behind a garment which makes it easy to waste and replace without much introspection. We need to have a shift in mentality which makes us treasure and care for what we have and what we surround ourselves with. This gives lessons that are long forgotten about compassion for the community.
IMPORTANCE OF BOOSTING LOCAL ECONOMIES - EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES
The craft that artisans demonstrate is much more than slow and handmade, it is heritage. A heritage that lasts as long as they last, and today, this is disappearing. It would be a tragedy to lose a heritage which testifies a culture’s unique identity which without it, we wouldn't be one of the most diverse and complex species. With this in mind, it becomes urgent to preserve and boost the local economies of these artisans. They are essential for the continuity of the tradition because only them are part of the generational knowledge of the craft. These women have learned the techniques from their mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers.
ARTISANSHIP IS INDEPENDENT
Within the framework of conventional fashion, a designer explicitly tells a factory what they want to be made. It is a non-personal process. When working with artisans, the process is a deeply collaborative one. What can you make using those weaving techniques, those patterns, those colors? Brands and designers today bring mood boards, look through all the patterns and materials and choose what they want to work with. However, with artisans, the designer has to respect the parameters that traditional artisanship imposes on a design, as well as respecting the knowledge of the artisan that they will not have without the presence of a certain lineage.
To summarize there are many reasons why you should buy artisan-made fashion:
Its quality, beauty, heritage and the way it tells the story of the place it comes from is better than postcards or pictures ever could. But most of all, you should buy artisan-made fashion because you’re telling an artisan that they are, they’re skills and their traditions are valuable because we recognize their uniqueness and skill. To buy artisanal is to show that your eyes pay attention to the different quality, your skin cares about the softness, that an entire thought process was put into buying an item; not for an impulsive need to follow a specific group of brands and their trends. You stand out immediately because you become part of an activist movement who says no to being dressed like everyone else, yes to exploring the depth of your originality through a medium of clothes. You set an example of how being a consumer can become synonymous or at least simultaneous to being an activist. By buying right, you start living a more conscious life. By starting to be conscious of what you decide to put inside as well as the outside of the body will have not only a psychological effect but create a positive influence in your environment and slowly mentality, unconscious and automatic habits that are detrimental will seize. What is crucial to understand is that what destroys our planets destroys us and our mental well being and vice versa. So this is for the artisans, it is a love letter to those who bring us this awareness, these new senses and consciousness linked to what we wear.
A love letter to the origins of artisanship – a love letter to slow to quality, to the quality of making clothes which involves the hands, the eyes and the creative brain, not machines and torture. It is not impossible for artisans to use technology. They use tools such as a foot pedal loom, or a sanding machine for the soles of the shoes. However the leverage they have is more one of an artist. They’re hands touch the materials, feeling the weight, peering closely at the embroideries. Their memory retrieves patterns created from ancestors and they’re muscle memories also remember decades of practice which was passed down. All these factors make their skill an art, it is not something that an algorithm can pick or a machine can control, this is what humans do; they make art as an expression and gratitude of the beauty of life.