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29 Apr

Closely Crafted Goals to Support the Next Generation of Craftspeople

The word is getting out about Closely Crafted.

The organization was founded by milliner and accessories designer Gigi Burris O’Hara in the course of the pandemic with a mission to coach and train up-and-coming talent to preserve craftsmanship within the American fashion industry. The impetus for the group’s creation got here after Burris O’Hara watched so many other Recent York City-based factories close, resulting in a dearth of artisans for each her business and others.

So she rallied quite a few her industry friends to hitch her within the cause to preserve and revitalize quality American goods including Nike’s Matthew Kneller, fashion attorney Douglas Hand, Public School’s Maxwell Osbourne, Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill and others. 

On Tuesday, the organization held its first fundraiser at the Rooftop Bar Blondeau at Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. The event served to boost money for the group’s Move the Needle campaign, a master apprentice program it’s going to launch in late 2023 that may connect artisans with students or others fascinated by gaining skills in a craft. The precise amount raised has not yet been finalized.

To bring its mission to life, Closely Crafted showcased an onsite weaving activation centered around a 10-foot circular loom in collaboration with Brooklyn based weaving studio and healing arts center Weaving Hands. Attendees were also invited to weave together remnant fabric from a number of designers who put money into local production, including AnOnlyChild, Adam Lippes, Alabama Chanin, Bach Mai, Brandon Maxwell, Christian Cowan, Deveaux, Et Ochs, Gigi Burris Millinery, Jonathan Cohen, Lapointe, Markarian, Monse, St John and others. 

Gigi Burris O’Hara

Courtesy Image

The evening offered up locally sourced napkins, a step-and-repeat curtain crafted from upcycled remnant fabric, and lapel pins for guests crafted from a third generation silk flower atelier. Beverage selections were sourced from local spirits brands, including female-owned Harridan Vodka and North Fork-based Macari Wines.

Along with the board members, the evening drew designers Connor McKnight, Matthews Adams Dolan and Dao-Yi Chow in addition to Fern Mallis, Kate Lanphear and others — a turnout that warmed Burris O’Hara’s heart.

“There was an awesome response to the cause,” she said. “Closely Crafted will probably be an element of the answer by igniting conversations around craft, supporting fashion brands that put money into local production, creating artisan equity, and above all inspiring the subsequent generation of creators. 100% of the proceeds from the event ticket sales and donations will go to the Move the Needle campaign, which is benchmarked funding our first apprenticeship program. We aim to capture generational knowledge of ‘savoir faire’ to transfer to young artisans and contribute to a thriving future for our industry.”

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