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New Non-Profit Aims to Preserve American Craft

Gigi Burris O’Hara’s New York-based Closely Crafted will promote craft across the US.
Accessories designer and milliner Gigi Burris O'Hara, who is launching Closely Crafted, making a hat.
Gigi Burris O'Hara launches Closely Crafted. (Sophie Sahara)

The organisation, helmed by accessories designer and milliner Gigi Burris O’Hara, will take aim at preserving craft in American fashion by educating consumers about the importance and quality of American artisans, drumming up interest in American brands, backing training and apprenticeship programs and prompting conversations about craft with its designer network. Burris O’Hara developed the idea for Closely Crafted in response to factory closures she witnessed during the pandemic, which included one of her partners — a 30-year-old Bantam leather factory.

”Our aim is to inspire the next generation of creators to pursue a path towards skilled craftsmanship, and to sustain the industry of local production in a way that fosters job stability,” said Burris O’Hara.

The organisation’s board and advisors include Julie Gilhart of Tomorrow Group, Public School co-founder Maxwell Osborne, Markarian designer Alexandra O’Neill and congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Though based in New York, the organisation will promote craft across the US, and highlighted Texas’ legacy boot-making community as a space for potential support.

As part of the launch, designer Jonathan Cohen drew a new illustration as part of his “Flower Shop” series that will be auctioned with a portion of sales donated to Closely Crafted. The non-profit also plans to partner with independent retailers, beginning with The Webster, which will promote American brands on social media on July 4.

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