High Boots and Haute Couture: Linking the Worlds of High Fashion and Folk Crafts
Folk crafts have become incredibly popular both in Russia and across the world
Locally made textiles, local fashion, and local fabrics are all very popular today. <...> Fabrics are being recycled, reused. <...> We have a lot to offer Russia — Pamela Nicole Mejia, Founder, Phinix Textile Recycling.
As I see it, the popularity of folk arts and crafts in Russia is directly correlated to a higher level of cultural education among the younger generation — Anna Nesterova, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Global Rus Trade.
The arts and crafts sector in Russia is very well represented, and employs a great many different techniques
We have a lot of sewing techniques. There is lace, and unique embroidery, which differs from region to region. We have a large number of craftspeople in these areas, and it seems to me that we are not making the most of this potential, because all designers want to decorate their products with something unique — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
Domestic tourism became popular during the pandemic, which has provided a boost to people working in the crafts. In turn, folk crafts are attracting travellers
Today, the fashion industry is indeed pivoting towards local products. People are interested in things that are unique, that are special in some way. <...> This has been particularly noticeable as domestic tourism has risen in popularity — Pavel Toskin, Russian Tailor; Owner, TOSKING Heritage Atelier.
Domestic tourism has been a major factor in monetizing folk crafts — Anna Polezhaeva, Advisor to the Head, Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs.
In my opinion, the collaborative efforts of government bodies and the attention they are giving to goods of cultural significance are serving to not only promote producers and the work they do, but also entire regions. As a result, tourist numbers are rising, which is having a knock-on effect on economic growth — Anna Nesterova, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Global Rus Trade.
Digitalization is opening up new opportunities for craftspeople
One trend to have emerged last year was <...> personification. People want to get something unique and specifically for themselves. <...> On the one hand, the arts and crafts sector is now becoming an endless source of creative ideas for fashionable homes. And people are searching for these ideas, and you get some crazy collaborations as a result. And on the other hand, a person running a small operation <...> can take their business to a whole new level thanks to new technology, digitalization, and accessibility. Things such as traditional Russian-made winter boots becoming haute couture represent an opportunity for our time — Konstantin Bandorin, Director of Strategic Development, Textile and Light Industry Innovation Centre.
Copyright for arts and crafts is not strong enough
There is no greater loss to a creative person than the unauthorized use of their work. <...> According to experts, low-quality utilization of intellectual property costs the economy 5% of GDP. But when we all register these rights and employ them in an honest manner, it’s not only the state that benefits, but every single specialist who works in the field — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
Patenting of arts and crafts is funded by the state, and should guarantee that an enterprise’s techniques are protected when working with other designers. It also provides the option of earning through licensing. <...> This is something which is currently being actively promoted; however, it [the system – ed.] has not been worked through in detail, and a great many operations are being swindled — Pavel Toskin, Russian Tailor; Owner, TOSKING Heritage Atelier.
Craftspeople are finding it difficult to adapt to global trends. It is hard for them to stay current
We are trying to explain to our enterprises that if their products are not current, not in demand, and not sold, their techniques will not be preserved. The government cannot forever be compensating production costs if there is no demand on the market for the product in question — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
The crafts sector as a whole is in a difficult situation – it is extremely difficult to adapt to an evolving market. That is the main problem. And the objective should not even be to provide some kind of artificial support to us. The main problem is to make things current — Pavel Toskin, Russian Tailor; Owner, TOSKING Heritage Atelier.
Foreign buyers are finding it difficult to complete purchases for goods sold on Russian e-commerce platforms
Unfortunately, not every foreign partner can purchase Russian goods due to the fact that Russia is regrettably unable to offer payment options such as PayPal — Anna Nesterova, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Global Rus Trade.
Arts and crafts need to be advertised both on the catwalk, and in day-to-day settings
In order to popularize folk crafts beyond our country, we need to promote our goods both on the catwalk and in everyday design — Pavel Toskin, Russian Tailor; Owner, TOSKING Heritage Atelier.
A draft bill to protect the interests of craftspeople has been drawn up
We have drawn up a draft bill. <...> When speaking to craftspeople, they talk about the risks they see with regard to protecting their rights [i.e., copyright – ed.]. <...> For this reason, our draft bill includes a separate section dedicated to protecting the rights of craftspeople, and another one dedicated to self-regulation. <...> Once it enters into force <...> it will be possible to register on an e-commerce platform via a self-regulatory organization, and this will be a major source of support for craftspeople — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
The sector requires support with the help of digital technology
What I want is for a craftsperson based anywhere, be it a major city like Moscow or St. Petersburg, or a small village in the Far East, to have the chance to fulfil their creative potential. And our objective as the government is to create these opportunities. That way, the person can get on with creating, and the state can act as a producer — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
Russian brands need to be created
I am deeply convinced that we need to have our equivalents of Gucci and Louis Vuitton. <...> I want our craftspeople to be able to brand their products and preserve their techniques — Gulnaz Kadyrova, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.