Crafted Society was founded by Lise Bonnet & Martin Johnston in 2016. The husband and wife fashion duo wanted to pursue a lifelong dream of fusing their passion for design and exquisitely crafted lifestyle products with their personal commitment to inspire their two children while giving something back to society.
In 2015, Martin decided to quit his job and together with Lise, they embarked on a sabbatical trip to India to visit a charity project in the slums of New Delhi. They saw first hand how a little can go a long way and were deeply inspired and impacted by the trip.
The day the duo decided to walk the entrepreneurial path, they knew exactly what they wanted to create and where. Limited edition, handcrafted sneakers, bags and accessories all made in the country that had stolen their heart; Italy.
The small question was by whom? They set out to work with the very best artisans Italy had to offer, but finding them was not easy. Traditional players in the luxury goods business do not generally disclose their manufacturing partners as secrecy used to be viewed as a competitive advantage. The confidentiality agreements manufacturers sign with brands lead towards an anonymous existence for the people who in our opinion are the real heroes of luxury: the makers.
As 2016 came around and armed with just passports and a large dose of passion to move the project forward, the pair left for Italy in search of the people who could help realise their dream.
With a little help from their friends, it wasn’t long before they found themselves in Tuscany being introduced to Lanificio Arca, a family-run, luxury textile weaver on the outskirts of Florence, who have been weaving cashmere and cashmere blends on antique shuttle looms for the past 70 years. From Tuscany, they headed to Le Marche and met with the shoemakers at IFG and hat makers from Sorbatti before discovering the denim tailors of Laboratorio Imjit35020 nestled away in a sleepy village in Veneto.
Master artisans did exist after all.
Over the course of several months, the pair went back and forth, visiting the artisans frequently to learn more about excellence and craftsmanship, their own history and more importantly, their challenges. While listening intently it occurred that all master artisan's faced one particular key challenge. They were all struggling to identify, train and develop the next generation of artisan.
Based on what they had learned first hand, Lise and Martin decided to celebrate the makers and place them central to everything Crafted Society would send for as a new luxury brand.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” - Socrates
What had begun as frustration turned out to become the driving force hurtling them towards a bigger purpose.
Traditional Luxury is opaque at the best of times and the practice of secrecy was previously successful in creating allure, desire and mystique which would ultimately justify the overly exaggerated price points. But in today's world, the new generation is simply not buying it, and are pushing back in greater numbers.
Luxury without craftsmanship is simply not luxury and the Artisans are the central pillar. This is why chose to place the maker at the centre of everything we do.
Our purpose is:
"To use the power of transparent craftsmanship to inspire, empower and educate the next generation."
This is just the beginning and there is a lot of work ahead to preserve a Crafted Society, but with the brand already resonating with a diverse group of people from all over the world, there are positive signs that, together, we can democratise luxury while celebrating the makers and the poetry they posses in their hands.
The future of craftsmanship is literally in all of our hands.
Lise & Martin