31 Years of Tradition at Hammertown

Thank you for making 2015 our best year ever!

New Year’s Eve is not only a time of gratitude and reflection for me, it is also a time to look ahead to the future with a renewed commitment to the spirit and values that have driven Hammertown for over 30 years.  Our goal has always been to make our stores comfortable and beautiful places, with soul, spirit and vision; to make you to feel at home; and to stay true to Hammertown’s tradition of authenticity, creativity and accessibility.

While looking back at our past 30 years, I happened to read this recent story in Bloomberg Business and it’s message of the importance of staying true to one’s tradition and values really resonated with me and I’d like to share it with you.

fair isle photo

Inside the Tiny Scottish Knitwear Studio That Chanel Couldn’t Resist (click to read)
Mati Ventrillon knits traditional Fair Isle sweaters the old-fashioned way. That’s the allure.

On the tiny Scottish  island of Fair Isle is the studio of Mati Ventrillon, a French-Venezuelan designer who has been working on the island for 8 years.  She knits and sells made to order traditional Fair Isle sweaters (so “old school”…a staple for  New England college women in the 50’s and early 60’s).  As a knitter, I am very familiar with fair isle designs and their complexity, on many different levels.   Mati is continuing a tradition that has been passed on by many generations before her.

This past summer representatives from the fashion house Chanel visited her tiny studio and purchased some of her samples, with the understanding they would only be used for research purposes. It is not uncommon for the leading designers to seek inspiration from vintage clothing and antique shops as these pieces offer inspiration and ideas for conceptualizing new collections.

Mati Ventrillon in her Fair Isle studio


However, during their 2016 preview show, 6 months later, Chanel featured Ventrillon’s designs without attributing her sweaters as the main source of inspiration. When “questioned on social media by a bemused Ventrillon, Chanel apologized and said it had unwittingly used the designs, promising to attribute her work in all future communications.”

Here is where the story tugs at my heart.  Instead of anger at Chanel, Ventrillon spoke as the passionate, creative artist she is.  Clearly money is not her aim.

“If you want to treat craftsmanship as nothing but business, you will never win. That’s not what it’s about at all. It’s so important to be careful about where you place value. The value is in the skills, history and heritage I wish to promote and maintain.  I don’t want to chase after Chanel’s money for a mistake they have made and for which they have profusely apologized.”

Tradition, fairness, creativity, beauty and authenticity — Mati’s story exemplifies the values I so cherish.

So on this New Year’s Eve I’d like to thank you again for keeping our
Hammertown tradition alive over these past 30 years.

I wish you peace, love and prosperity in the coming New Year.

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