Digital Craftsmanship and Luxury - the impact of technology

Shaun Borstrock

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


It could be said that true luxury products are defined through skill, connoisseurship, rarity, craftsmanship and innovation. Luxury brands on the other hand are defined by illusions of luxury, fashion, authenticity, lifestyle, aspiration, the global market and profit.

Increasingly luxury brands have introduced options to customize their products to enhance their offer and thereby creating the perception that the customer is purchasing something individual. However, customisation options within the realms of the luxury brand, do nothing more than offer variations on a theme. Component pieces within an existing product range are produced and offered for sale as part of an existing product category.

Offering a customised product changes the perception of the consumer. They believe they are buying something different but this is far from the reality. Luxury brands offer customisation to attempt to diversify and add value to their product offer. If one considers craftsmanship and innovation as core components in creating differentiation between luxury and luxury branded products, it could then be argued that traditional crafted products and the integration of digital technologies challenge the status quo.

This paper sets out to explore how technology is changing the perception of the hand made and considers traditional hand production methods, hand stitching, and limited production and craft skills. In addition, mass production is considered in the context of how luxury brands have grown as a result of being able to supply historically hand crafted products en masse through technological innovation.

3D printing, for example, is already occupying a place of growing significance and viable modes of industrialised production and is being used to manufacture a range of different products, including bespoke clothing, rather than mass production. But what are the challenges and opportunities when designing and developing garments which use these new technological processes?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2016
EventPopular Culture Association of America - Seattle, United States
Duration: 12 Apr 2016 → …


ConferencePopular Culture Association of America
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period12/04/16 → …


  • fashion
  • luxury
  • branding
  • 3D Printing
  • craftsmanship


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