I am awed by the way my female forebears can rustle up any outfit from scratch. I grew up with store-bought clothes and negligible sewing skills. But lately, I have longed for the rumble of the sewing machine and the smell of home-baked cookies.
The Handmade Market is being held at Kamberra Winery this Saturday 11 September. Over 140 stalls and designers from around Australia are participating in the event, which has grown exponentially from 35 participants at the first market in 2009.
The popularity of Handmade speaks volumes about the desire, particularly among young women, to reclaim that part of themselves that is often overshadowed by the demands of a fast world.
Tania McCartney is the author of Handmade Living, a designer collective inspired by the popularity of the market. The book features 107 designers and ‘DIY’ projects, including homewares, clothing, jewellery, children’s goods, papergoods and food.
Tania credits the popularity of the handmade market to a rejection of the “shoddy quality and ho-hum design elements” in mass-produced products.
“There’s been a resurgence in all things slow – slow cooking, yoga, hiking, slow travel – things that allow us to connect with the moment and revel in the beauty of life, rather than amass and collect the cheap and readily available,” she says.
Visiting the markets is a chance to connect with a collective of women who, as much as they acknowledge their legacy, are intent on carving a new place – with individualism at its heart – for the modern woman.
Shopping at a market encourages conversation between the creator and the consumer. Rather than relying on magazines or celebrities to dictate our choices, we use our own aesthetic sensibilities to make choices. It’s valuable to understand the work that’s required for a quality product, and the passion that defies the ‘easy fix’ in favour of quality.
Tania says “women are relying more and more on what they actually love and what suits them – their body type, their colouring, their lifestyle – and so we choose whether what’s ‘in’ suits us.”
Choosing to shop at a market also means that 100% of profits go to the designer – usually chronically underpaid for their work.
Far from being an arcane experience populated with doilies and jams, the handmade market showcases a plethora of creative and inspiring fashion.
“I adore Andie Meredith’s pieces – she uses fine fabrics and features really classic colours and styles but with a contemporary edge. I also really like Anna Stockel’s underwear range – it’s so fantastic to see a designer branch out in this genre – not many people are brave enough to take on the big underwear companies and Anna does it with style,” said Tania.
More information about the Handmade Market is at www.handmademarket.com.au