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What to see at London Craft Week, from Westwood archives to Loewe prize winners

By Rachel Douglass


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The Mills Fabrica exhibition. Image: London Craft Week

From May 8 to 14, London Craft Week (LCW) will return to the capital for its ninth edition, boasting a programme of over 700 established and emerging makers and designers from around the world.

Its vast schedule hopes to attract a wide audience, offering opportunities to meet creators, take part in workshops and attend exclusive exhibitions. In a release, the organisation said that it caters to the current global trend that has seen a rise in the demand for craftsmanship, with those involved in the week looking to shine a further spotlight on this sector.

This was emphasised by Guy Salter, chairman of the event, who stated: “Our ninth LCW builds on the post-Covid appetite for unique live experiences, which drove our record visitor numbers at last year’s festival, and celebrates unsung creative communities.

“That often hidden ecosystem of exceptional talent. Not just in London but from around the UK and the world. Reinforcing this is a glimpse behind the scenes of the Coronation and the work of another fascinating community of artisans and specialist crafts linked to the monarchy.

“More than ever this year, I hope we’re proof of London’s enduring international cultural pulling power – and a tangible demonstration of human ingenuity and diversity.”

FashionUnited has outlined a collection of some of the most introspective fashion and textiles related occasions set to take place during the week long event.

Vivienne Westwood Corsets exhibition. Image: London Craft Week

Dedicated pavilions showcase talents of South Korea, Malaysia and more

One of the integral parts of this year’s LCW is its expanded programme of International Pavilions, which will be spread over the city and showcases an international spectrum of creators. The South Korean Pavilion spans two locations, one being Cromwell Place, where an exhibition by Dahye Jeong, the winner of the 2022 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, will take place. Entitled ‘Mind, Hand and Time’, the exhibition will display Jeong’s structures inspired by ancient techniques dating back to the Joseon Dynasty and got him recognised by the French luxury house. Another exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre UK will present the work by a series of weaving artists from the region.

Japan and Hong Kong will also be represented at respective exhibitions, the former at Japan House London, where ‘Kumihino: Japanese Silk Braiding by Domyo’ will be held, featuring a floor-to-ceiling installation of hand-dyed silk. Hong Kong artisans will be on display by Crafts on Peel at the Royal Sculpture Society, exploring the role of crafts in preserving the region’s cultural heritage. Meanwhile, further work by manufacturers and craftspeople from Austria, France, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan will also be shown at various locations around the city.

Farfetch and Ganni join programme highlighting sustainable agendas

Anabela Chan, Al Blooms. Image: London Craft Week

A programme led by LCW’s official Innovation Partner The Mills Fabrica will look to highlight the link between craft and sustainability, with a series of keynotes, panels and conversations set to take place throughout the week surrounding the topic of ‘Planet-Saving Innovations’. Among the participants in the talks programme are representatives from the likes of Farfetch, Ganni, Biofabricate and Adra Biomaterials, each of which will address challenges the planet faces.

Next to this, Fabrica X will present an exhibition dedicated to biomaterials, looking into both heritage techniques and new forms of craftsmanship created by scientists and bio designers. Other occasions as part of the schedule include a presentation by fine jewellery designer Anabela Chan, who will show her laboratory-grown gemstones and recycled creations, and a display by design agency Here entitled ‘Code/Craft/Chaos: Beautility in the Digital Age’, where a selection of works designed by code and made by hand will be present.

City-wide districts and organisations highlight local talents

Throughout the city, a number of districts and organisations will be hosting their own events to support local talent. This year in particular there is a focus on ‘Mayfair Savoir Faire’, which looks to celebrate the makers behind Mayfair-born brands. The programme includes a selection of events spanning fashion to fine jewellery, notably including demonstrations from Chanel’s Métiers d’Arts houses Maison Michel and Goossens. Another stand out occasion will take place at the Vivienne Westwood boutique, where a retrospective exhibition of archive corsets by the late designer will explore links to historical dress and lingerie.

Maison Michel for Chanel. Image: London Craft Week

A series of educational events will also take place, including one at London College of Fashion, which has partnered with Golden Lane Campus to show a curation of work by students, tutors and alumni. Visitors can also attend a lengthy programme at the V&A Museum, where, among other things, demonstrations by four renowned contemporary British silversmiths will be held. It will also be possible to sign up to a workshop that utilises traditional Korean silk fabrics as part of the museum’s ongoing ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’ exhibition.

King Charles’ Coronation celebrations intertwine

Another defining factor of this year’s LCW is that it will be taking place simultaneous to King Charles III’s Coronation, which is scheduled for May 6. In light of this, the event will host a programme dedicated to providing an insight into the story of craft behind the Coronation and the history of Royal patronage the craft’s industry has received. While much of the details are yet to be unveiled, one of the programme’s highlights includes an exhibition commissioned by King Charles at The Garrison Chapel, which celebrates education and craft programmes under The Prince’s Foundation, featuring work by a selection of next generation creators from institutions such as The Modern Artisan and School of Traditional Arts.

Further elements will give additional insight into the lives of the Royal Family, including Turquoise Mountain’s tour of Leighton House, where craftsmanship by artisans in Afghanistan will be on display. LCW will further spotlight brands that have supplied goods to the Royals, giving visitors behind-the-scenes tours, demonstrations and talks at the likes of Floris Perfumery, hatmaker Lock & Co and milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan’s atelier.

Lock & Co. Hatters. Image: London Craft Week
London Craft Week
Vivienne Westwood