Rise of the (chro-moly) makers

Coming to urban megalopoli near you soon. Mass individualised craftsmanship as a new consumer tribe. A self selecting exclusivity based on a collision of: unique, timeless, and hand crafted. Utility overlaid with beauty and presence. Nowhere more obvious than the frame builders of the European Old World, thriving in a post Global Financial Crisis reality where logic dictates the opposite should occur.

What to do with the Joneses’ snapping at your tails. Driving the same or newer/ higher/ safer premium model German auto, overrunning your previously exclusive neighbourhood with their new money. Talking insistently into delicate slabs of glass and squeezing unselfconsciously into ‘slim fit on a broad rear’ pants.

Value. Or how much is that doggy in the window?

Like the ‘Seventies with their matching gold taps, the ‘Teens show the rise of the artisanal crafts one-upper. Why buy off the peg when there’s real individuality, exclusivity and expression of self in the humble iron horse – custom made to a new hipsters’ ‘requirements’. Zing without the bling, and down low subtle shouting of lots of hidden money, in finely brazed and filleted joints.

Badged with a quirky flourish and paint job, handmade luggage carriers, and an achingly subtle flourish of the stencil makers art. Extending bespoke to the iron horse, making art that’s practicably useful, exhausting carbon dioxides from organic rather than teutonic depths.

What happened to the High St? 

While the rest of the idealised ‘middle class’ gets hollowed out by recession, new money and hard saved old is sinking for eco-tech-chic on two wheels. Urban biking‘s gotten slightly ‘ooh’, with a dash of calm and collected. Just as long as the trucks don’t pulverise and pollute it. Aesthetes replacing athletes, iDevices smaller and lighter than glossy print sailing by in the small of courier’d backs. Rapha‘d up from the post holocaust grunge, glancing over shoulders at Dandy’s of the past while doffing multi-panel caps to the cctv guardians of our free market future.

What does this tell us about the times ahead? Status takes many different forms. Direct to consumer has a large niche, partnered with marketing savvy and a truly real story. Humanity’s connection with the outdoors has a fighting chance. We will surround ourselves with things of beauty that have purpose. The motor car will forever be a coffin in waiting, however propelled. True individuality will flourish when able. That there’s a genuine opportunity where urban utility intersects with style and function, and it could save (some of) us from mass market graveyards of cheaply bought broken rubbish.

So go buy on a whim, then repent at your leisure – infidels!

©David Binstead 2013.

Want to stay urban healthy? Then read here for why bike commuting’s got the lead.

And, if you needed any further reason to invest in a custom steed? Wait and be happier!

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