Crafting Luxury

Crafting Luxury

Craftsmanship, Manufacture, Technology and the Retail Environment

Mark Bloomfield, Shaun Borstrock, Silvio Carta, Veronica Manlow


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The idea of luxury has secured a place in contemporary western culture, and the term is now part of common parlance in both established and emerging economies. This book explores the many issues and debates surrounding the idea of luxury. 

This new research addresses contentious issues surrounding perceptions of luxury, its relationship to contemporary branding as created by the marketers, and the impact this has on the consumer and their purchasing habits.

Crafting Luxury considers work within the field of luxury and luxury brands, encompassing established companies with a long heritage: from conglomerates and small independents to 'new' luxury and emerging models with innovative practices. It examines the industry structures with respect to production, as well as the hierarchies that exist, and the impact these have on both internal and external perceptions of luxury, from the makers to the sellers and consumers alike. Attention is also given to the working structures of the ateliers, production facilities, origin of materials, manufacture and the impact of technology on consumption, the retail environment and sales, all providing a true insider’s view of this complex world.

The authors – a designer of product and jewellery, a brand strategist and a fashion designer, an architect, and a sociologist and specialist in business management – are practitioners and academics. Their approach to dissecting the complex world of luxury brings distinct viewpoints to the debate, offering different perspectives, thoughts and interpretations of luxury.

Crafting Luxury will appeal to academics and educators, industry specialists and anyone interested in luxury as a concept. It will appeal to those in a variety of academic and industry disciplines: art history, history, social sciences and humanities with an interest in luxury, fashion studies, design, business, cultural studies and textiles. It will also be valuable to students and researchers in social sciences, humanities, business, design, branding, consumption, retail, architecture, cultural studies, fashion studies and textiles.

May also appeal to industry practitioners in retail, design, technology, marketing, the supply chain and manufacture, as well as design professions including architecture, fashion and interior design.


Mark Bloomfield:

Jewellery designer and Royal College of Art graduate Mark Bloomfield is a digital craftsman and artist based at London’s iconic Oxo Tower. He is visiting professor of design, innovation and technology in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. Mark has designed for some of the most influential and prominent designers, including Asprey, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Matthew Williamson. Additionally, he has worked in film and TV making jewellery for Titanic, Judge Dredd, Braveheart, Poirot, Tolkien and Gentleman Jack. As a leader in his field, using traditional craftsmanship techniques, digital tools and manufacturing technologies, Mark continues to dissolve boundaries and redefine the process of making through his exploration of the possibilities offered by current and emerging manufacturing technologies. In 2012 he won the Materialise World 3D Print Award. Mark was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2019 and his work has been exhibited at the Museum of York and at the Lowry Galleries in Manchester as part of the Expect the Unexpected exhibition. Mark creatively combines traditional craft techniques with advanced digital processes resulting in product that is engaging, surprising, thought provoking and sparks conversation.


Shaun is an associate dean; business, innovation and projects; and is head of the Digital Hack Lab, In Pursuit of Luxury and creative ideas in the School of Creative Arts. He is interested in design-led innovation where design comes first – not as a service to fulfil a business strategy but as a visionary path where design is considered to be an intrinsic part of decision making. This invites a new kind of multi- and trans-disciplinary collaboration from around the world. He also works as an independent consultant to luxury brands and associations around the globe. They have included Unity PR, Ford, Finpro, The Cape Town Fashion Council, Ford, Thomas Pink, Fortnum & Mason, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. He is a regular keynote speaker at events around the world as an authority on luxury branding and fashion, consumerism and brand strategies. Shaun’s research evaluates notions of luxury that seem far removed from today’s world of excessive consumption. He explores how technology is changing the perception of the hand made 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. His practice, in collaboration with Professor Mark Bloomfield, includes the development of Modeclix, the world’s first fully customizable 3D-printed textile. Modeclix has been nominated for numerous international 3D print awards.

Contact: School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK.


Dr Silvio Carta is an ARB RIBA architect and head of art and design at the University of Hertfordshire, where he is also director of the Professional Doctorates in Fine Arts and Design (DFA and DDES). His research and design interest focus on digital design and public space. Silvio is head of the editorial board of Seoul-based C3 magazine and editor of A_MPS Architecture Media Politics and Society (UCL Press). Silvio is the author of Big Data, Code and the Discrete City (Routledge).


Veronica is an associate professor at Brooklyn College in the Koppelman School of Business in the Business Management Department. Her current research investigates luxury labour performed by artisans in ateliers and factory workers in large conglomerates in Europe and the United States. She is also conducting research on the career of luxury salespersons and is considering the structural and interactional dynamics mediated by salespersons who must balance corporate directives, relationships with clients, store management and the culture of the selling floor with their own notions of expertise and personal agency. She wrote Designing Clothes (2007, 2009 and 2018) in which she explored the creative process of fashion design, organizational culture and leadership in corporate fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. She co-edited a book entitled Global Fashion Brands: Style, Luxury, History (2014) and is a section editor of The Fashion Business Reader (2019). She is the guest editor of a special issue on luxury production in the Journal of Design, Business & Society published in October 2018. She is one of the organizers of the international In Pursuit of Luxury Conference. Her Ph.D. is in sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Contact: Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210, USA.