Practically speaking, there are few ways to more effectively practice your ideology and morals than when you shop. Shopping for clothes or furniture, art or stationary, music or food is not only an expression of your taste—and I’m sure you have great taste—but is also a way to support the causes you treasure most with the thing that matters most: money. Like many in my generation, I have my own shopping obsessions born of some intellectual leaning, even if I’m not technically monetarily able to indulge. I love genuinely sustainable products, and products sourced to facilitate a higher quality of life for their artisans (like the work of Anchal Project). I love handcrafted items and shops that focus on handcrafted items, and I love it even more when they are online shops. I also love local projects and products—both artisanal and nutritional—and programs that focus on promoting locally sourced items. When local pairs with handcrafted—an easy leap to make—I get a kind of intellectual-consumerist boner and am overcome with the nihilistic desire to plunge headlong into bankruptcy by buying everything said shop has to offer.
I recently faced such a crisis when I discovered Fiercely Made, “an online collective of over 20 designers and makers in Brooklyn, NY, selling handcrafted products and telling the story of their craft.” Eryn Przekop and Tom Critchlow organized and run Fiercely Made, and the sister art-based site Fiercely Curious, which functions as both a curated online shop for contemporary artisans in Brooklyn and as a go-between for custom jobs. Effectively, they are agents, retailers, and marketers.
The ‘about us’ page is casually self-effacing, limited to a brief account of their education and work experience. Instead, Przekop and Critchlow have explicitly framed their projects to celebrate the makers and develop a consumer base for their clearly very skilled work and their cherished locale. It appears to be a purely online set up, but emphasis the physicality of the artisans’ studios.
Not only is Fiercely Made a well-conceived and well-curated online shop, but its site specificity, beautiful products, and local pride are a touch of inspiration. I’m totally smitten by the project and many of the products, and I’m not even from Brooklyn, nor do I live there. Check out Fiercely Made and keep them and sourced like this in mind, especially when decorating your house or looking for birthday presents. (A personal favorite is the wood furniture of Reed Hansuld, who is totally brilliant.)