Sales of luxury may well have ricocheted into new territories with China’s currently soaring market in ever increasing demand for fine jewellery, clothes and accessories but houses have one main deficiency; artisans to produce these goods.
As much as the tailoring and craft of the recent Mcqueen dress for the British Royal Wedding was much admired by youngsters across the globe, finding actual design apprentices willing to put in the gruel is proving difficult.
High End British jeweler Theo Fennell (TFL.L) said finding apprentices was a challenge. "You think there'd be a queue round the block to become apprentices, but there's not," creative director Fennell told the Reuters Global Luxury and Fashion Summit in London.
He said many young people were not willing to devote much time and energy acquiring the huge skill base while making less money than most of their friends. "The idea of doing a great day's work, producing something really beautiful ... it's contrary to contemporary culture, the whole idea of instant fame and money without any effort," Fennell said.
A Parisian luxury group insider said, ‘Manual labor has been devalued by society. Motivating the young generation is a problem.’ The hard sufferers are those in the most niche areas – such as lacemakers and furriers.
The luxury watchmarket has also been experiencing problems. Richemont, owner of the Cartier brand, said it would add 800 jobs in production this year. "We accept that we will have to train people up for the jobs that we have.’ A luxury watch consultant admitted that young people no longer seemed to be interested in these professions.
Let’s hope the recovering economy and British fashion industry can generate some new interest as these heritage brands and works of fashion art do rely on talented youngsters willing to put in the work.