What Not To Miss at London Craft Week

by Christina Donoghue on 9 May 2023

Now in its ninth edition, the annual event has become a staple occasion in any craft lover's calendar. Here's your lowdown on the events not to miss, all armed with a fashion twist.

Now in its ninth edition, the annual event has become a staple occasion in any craft lover's calendar. Here's your lowdown on the events not to miss, all armed with a fashion twist.

There are two camps craft (and, by proxy, craft lovers) sit in. One is associated with the highest level of luxury, where craftsmanship meets showmanship as thread meets needle to carve beauty into the everyday. The other is where craft gets its less attractive reputation, accused of serving up a less-than-contemporary fantasy than that of 'high fashion'. Alas, what's the difference, and is there really any distinction between the two? Although craft doesn't feel as integral to our society as it once was, London Craft Week is here to debunk that theory, celebrating the best of craft in Britain and across the seas. From now until 14 May, the work of 400 makers will be showcased through a diverse series of exhibitions and events happening in varying cultural spaces across the city. A broad mix of emerging talents will show next to established makers, all of which span fields from textiles to woodworking to jewellery.

When you multiply 400 makers by numerous disciplines, the results can create quite the overwhelmingly jam-packed schedule. Below, we've listed a few of the week's highlights to help you navigate the best of London Craft Week 2023.

'Nobody Cares How Good You Used To Be' by Henry Holland and Paul Smith

Henry Holland x Paul Smith Nobody Cares How Good You Used To Be

Exhibition and shop

You'd be right to think industry heavyweights Henry Holland and Paul Smith are cut from the same cloth - both designers have carved a reputation that borders on the brighter side of life (and fashion). Smith is defined by his colourful array of signature stripes, while Holland's irreverent streak mixes playfulness with classic British style, creating eclecticism in all he does. There is no rule book when it comes to the pair, and with this in mind, it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces for a collaboration that dealt its hand at ceramics (something both designers, respectively, have been interested in for some time). Debuting as part of London Craft Week, the dynamic duo are set to unveil their long-awaited ceramics collaboration that has promised a Henry Holland makeover of the trademark Paul Smith stripe. Prepare for colour, prepare for wonkiness and prepare for style. More details to follow.

Soho Home chair by Martina Spetlova

WARPED at Sarabande Foundation


In true LCW style, WARPED at Sarabande will celebrate the art of contemporary weaving through the lens of three makers Megan Brown, Anouska Samms and Martina Spetlova, who are Sarabande artists in residence that play with weaving in different forms. From human hair to woven leather and precious metals, the exhibition illuminates their craft processes while paying homage to the design of a machine that has remained relatively unchanged through time and geography; the loom. An interactive loom installation created from scraps of Alexander McQueen A/W 23 repurposed wood will be at the heart of the exhibit and will span eight x two metres, encouraging visitors to join conversations while co-creating an abstract piece of material on the centrepiece that explores themes from family lineage, heritage and community, working alongside the warp and weft. WARPED explores the past, present and future of craft as we know it. Open to the public for a limited time only between 12 - 13 May. More details here.

Vivienne Westwood Corsets: 1987 to Present Day

Vivienne Westwood Corsets: 1987 to Present Day


Examining the late Vivienne Westwood's approach to underwear as outerwear, Vivienne Westwood Corsets: 1987 to Present Day explores the house's subversion of corsetry over the course of 30-plus years. The show pivots around the brand's iconic corset archive and its memorable runway moments whilst linking Andreas Kronthaler's most recent iterations to its inspirations. [It was] 'A real wave-the-flag moment of euphoria' famously noted Westwood of her corsetry designs. This exhibition offers you to get up close and personal with that euphoria. The exhibition is open to the public until 21 May at the house's flagship boutique at 44 Conduit Street.

dunhill S/S 23 campaign 'Pillars of Elegance'

dunhill Archive Exhibition: Pillars of Elegance and Craft


There seems to be a theme of archive exhibitions this LCW as British luxury label dunhill also joins in on the curatorial format. Riffing off the title of the brand's S/S 23 campaign Pillars of Elegance, a curated gallery of dunhill products will also go on show under the same name. The exhibition's efforts will explore the innovative, hedonistic, luxuriously indulgent heritage and craft associated with the dunhill name while highlighting new pieces created to celebrate dunhill's 130th anniversary. The exhibition will take place at Bourdon House and is open to the public between 10 - 13 May. More details here.

'Code /Craft/ Chaos - Beautility in the Digital Age'

Code /Craft/ Chaos - Beautility in the Digital Age


How does beauty adapt once seen through a digital lens? Dissecting the three c's - code, craft and chaos - this London Craft Week exhibition proposes new questions regarding the old fashion techniques of making, many of which have remained relatively unchanged over time. 'Every art form is challenged with evolution. But the ancient art of crafting, of making things by hand, perhaps most of all. But what if code could be crafted — and craft, coded? What if seemingly random algorithms could be curated and made meaningful by human intuition?' Working at the intersection of these distinct mediums, Here Design have noted their unique journey and subsequent findings in an exhibition, harnessing the randomness of code to create one-of-a-kind tapestries, screen prints, ceramics, musical compositions and even poetry. The exhibition is open to the public between 10 - 12 May. More details here.

London College of Fashion x London Craft Week

London College of Fashion x London Craft Week

Open studio

For one day only, London College of Fashion will open their doors to the public, who will be given the unique opportunity to witness first-hand the college's imaginative approach to craft. Presenting 'a curation of craft excellence', the event features current students, alumni and course practitioners from varying pathways who will come together to showcase a diverse craft portfolio stretching from footwear, accessories and jewellery design to tailoring and 3D artefacts. If you are around the college's Golden Lane campus on 11 May (a place that has served as the beating heart of LCF's most iconic craft programme for many years), pop-in, relax and explore all that is on offer. Open to the public between 14:00 and 17:30 on 11 May. More details here.

Nicola Cox for London Craft Week

Women in Craft


Co-founder and owner of Cox London, Nicola Cox, is joined by three additional leading female powerhouses within the craft industry for a panel discussion chaired by Elly Parsons, digital director at World of Interiors. Panellists include Phoebe Cummings, ceramic artist; Sophie Sellu, woodworker and founder of Grain & Knot; and Dalia James, woven textile designer and maker. As each talent brings their in-depth knowledge and passion for craft to the table, this invaluable talk will provide a fascinating insight into the nurturing of traditional craft skills and how design is created, curated and presented in interiors. Book your ticket here to confirm your attendance on 11 May. Doors open at 18:30.

Image courtesy of Timothy Gibbons

The Craft of Fashion: Sustainable and Future Facing


As time goes by, the talk about ethical and sustainable fashion becomes more and more pressing. With the cooker pressure on, we can't think of a better way to approach this topic than with a conversation chaired by curator, professor and historian Alistair O'Neill on the importance of local makers and their output. Featuring panellists milliner Pip Hackett, denim designer By.Wuzzy and designer Timothy Gibbons, conversation points will tackle the merits of small-scale fashion production, raising ideas about craft, knowing your customer and designing within a locale. For more details, click here.



Interview: Oriole Cullen on Bonnets

13 November 2014
Oriole Cullen, curator of Modern Textiles and Fashion, explains the history of the bonnet to Lou Stoppard at the V&A's Clothworkers' Centre.

Feminism and the Rose: London Craft Week Kicks off with Performance at the Garden Museum

08 May 2022
Hot on the heels of the museum's latest exhibition exploring the roses in fashion, artist Jo Cope, curator Amy de la Haye, sustainable flower designer Shane Connolly and performance artist Xrestina Prompona are putting on a special one-day event.

Art As Fashion: New Exhibition Uncovers The Textiles of Picasso, Calder and More

15 April 2023
You may be familiar with the paintings of Pablo Picasso or the sculptures of Alexander Calder but what about their textiles? GRAY M.C.A's latest exhibition, 'Styled by Design' taps into textiles' secret history, presenting a feast for the eyes and mind.
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