How important is Handmade?

catsinthebag

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i've been reading the threads bemoaning the fact that more and more companies are outsourcing their bag production to China (and other countries that are not either France or Italy). Also, 60 Minutes did a story a couple of weeks ago on how more and more jobs are being taken over by machines and computers. Of course, my brain started applying this all to handbags :lol:, and I started to wonder: how many brands still have artisans that make the bags by hand? Hermes and Bottega Veneta are the two that immediately come to mind, but there must be others.

How important is it to all of you that the bag is handmade? Would you choose a bag made by machine in Italy over a bag made by hand in China or Bulgaria? A unknown designer who makes each bag individually over a Chanel? Or vice-versa?

Just thinking, and wanted to get the thoughts of others out there ... Please share your thoughts!
 

slowlikehoney

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What an interesting question! I would LOVE to have a handmade bag, but I don't think I can afford any of the premium designer ones anymore. I just settle for finding the best quality I can get at the lowest price. I don't really take where it's made into account as far as quality goes, but I am becoming more wary of those made in China simply in terms of morality and the fact that I'm uncomfortable with the idea of people working in poor conditions and not being paid fairly. It irks me that a company could charge so much for something and then not even pay their workers properly. I do have some vintage Coach that amaze me over and over in terms of quality. I don't know if those were handmade, though, all of mine were made in the US.
 

papertiger

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There are all sorts of measures as to what constitutes a hand-made bag. You might be surprised how much and how many machines could have assisted a so-called hand-made item.

Other phrases are 'hand-crafted' (which only means somewhere along the (convener-belt line) someone did something to the bag by hand) or even 'hand-finished' which is similar, if someone ties a bow to a handle at the end of production it could constitute as hand-finished.

I would love to know the legal definition of these terms, so far as I can see they are used at random.

The fantasy of fairy elves and a artisan sitting at single wooden bench were never true even in ye olden times when handmade items was common place.
 

slowlikehoney

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Feb 12, 2012
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There are all sorts of measures as to what constitutes a hand-made bag. You might be surprised how much and how many machines could have assisted a so-called hand-made item.

Other phrases are 'hand-crafted' (which only means somewhere along the (convener-belt line) someone did something to the bag by hand) or even 'hand-finished' which is similar, if someone ties a bow to a handle at the end of production it could constitute as hand-finished.

I would love to know the legal definition of these terms, so far as I can see they are used at random.

The fantasy of fairy elves and a artisan sitting at single wooden bench were never true even in ye olden times when handmade items was common place.
Yes. All the vintage Coach say "handcrafted" but you can look at the stitches and see that they were done with a machine. Still the quality is amazing. Their new reissued vintage bags (made in China) are quite sad in comparison, quality wise.
 

heather123

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I highly recommend www.scaramanga.uk for leather satchels and bags. Their goods are all hand-made in India by artisans employed under Fair Trade conditions. I have two of their Old School satchels and they're beautiful bags at affordable prices. Scaramanga is a Scottish company, so I enjoy the nostalgia of buying from them (I'm Scottish)!
 

rainrowan

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I could be wrong, but I thought some fendi's were handmade
I think all the special baguettes are handmade, aren't most of them one-of-a-kind?

Overall craftsmanship is more important to me than whether a bag is hand crafted. Everything on my checklist has to be aesthetically balanced (structure, placement of hardware, stitching). For instance, my Marc Jacobs Stam - these have been partly crafted by hand - some stitching, molding metal frames, ruching, feet tapped into place. But I'm sure the finishing touches are done by machine like quilts, zippers, chains, etc. On the other hand, I love my nylon Herve Chapelier which is entirely pieced by hand on the sewing machine.

I have no problem with whether it's made in Italy or China in the end, if it's a good craftsman on that workbench, they will make a fine product no matter what (basically do a good job to keep that job). I am aware that if it's made in China, it doesn't always mean everything is from China, unless the product is a Chinese product. My Frye leather bag says "Genuine Italian Leather. Made in China." Nordstrom's has a video of Rebecca Minkoff's current collaboration with tPF, Made in NYC bags being crafted by Asian craftsmen in NY (I'm assuming it's a factory on the Fashion Mile, 7th Ave). If it weren't for the Made in NYC status, I would have figured it was a workshop in China LOL

The only bags I would consider completely handcrafted would be if it came from my own sewing machine with materials I gathered. And the cottage businesses, where people work from their homes so each bag is crafted one at a time, or on a small scale production. There is one called Mim's Maine or something like that on Etsy...
 
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tina2010

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Jan 8, 2013
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what a great thread. i work P/T for a very talented leather bag maker here on long island, NY. he would have so much to say on this topic of handmade. we are lead to believe that these designers are manufacturing your bag or at least "on top" of the entire process. I can tell you from knowing many people in this industry, by the time Hermes becomes "Hermes" they are sitting in a villa somewhere while their name is licensed out to the highest bidder. That company will produce the product as cheapest as possible as they could get away with from Hermes or whoever, representatives that ok the particular style. now that middle company will go to where ever they can find the cheapest labor Italy, China, Vietnam, etc.

sure there are manufacturers that keep it in house or in the USA, but like the post above said, its in a factory line made by factory workers who get factory workers pay and care about the product just enough that a factory worker can.

/snipped xxxxxxxxxxxx not allowed

here are some other great American leather bag makers that i just love
http://duluthpack.com/?gclid=CKLKjpjJjLUCFcuZ4AodqT0A0A
http://www.jwhulmeco.com/
http://jplc.com/index.html

xxxx
 
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Molly0

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Feb 8, 2012
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There are all sorts of measures as to what constitutes a hand-made bag. You might be surprised how much and how many machines could have assisted a so-called hand-made item.

Other phrases are 'hand-crafted' (which only means somewhere along the (convener-belt line) someone did something to the bag by hand) or even 'hand-finished' which is similar, if someone ties a bow to a handle at the end of production it could constitute as hand-finished.

I would love to know the legal definition of these terms, so far as I can see they are used at random.

The fantasy of fairy elves and a artisan sitting at single wooden bench were never true even in ye olden times when handmade items was common place.
Exactly! Good post! :tup: Funny this should come up as a topic because I recently was reading somewhere about Hermes and that they now have 2000 "craftsman". Hmmm... "Kinda sounds more like a factory?" I thought at the time. Still, I like the fantasy of fairy elves and a magical artisan perfecting the "perfect" piece of leather and sending it out into the world. . . . :rolleyes:
 
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Eric_Birkin

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Feb 25, 2012
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If a wallet / SLG has 'handmade in ____' stamped on it, does it mean that it is 100% made by the hand, with no help from machine?