Chicago loves street fairs. The summer is full of them with more than one happening each weekend throughout the city. One of the last summer street festivals is the Renegade Craft Fair. Renegade celebrated its 10 year anniversary but this year had a different feeling to it than years past.
The Renegade Craft store closed at the end of January. It felt like there was no home base, no firm ground to support the grander idea of Renegade. The store offered a survey of the vendors that typically show at Renegade Craft Fair. This year's fair had the same curation as always (with many return vendors). It begs the question, if the Renegade store curation wasn't popular enough to stay open in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Chicago, how long can the fair stay relevant?
I'm not sure how relevant it is currently as I saw the same fabric prominently placed in at least 6 booths. For reference, this is the fabric: and the original project post referenced purchasing the fabric at Hobby Lobby. There is nothing inherently wrong with purchasing fabric for your wares at national fabric store chains but it can't be the corner stone of your booth/product/company/brand. At the most basic level, what happens when the store you typically buy from moves in a direction contradictory to your direction?
The booth fees are so high that return vendors put all their creation effort into making known hits without growing as designers. Forced stagnation by repeat vendors is only amplified by long time vendors not making return appearances to the fair when their style changes (accompanied by blog posts bemoaning their rejection).
Renegade Craft Fair was a dominating force in the handmade movement. They were a trend-setter and an end goal in relevancy that many crafters were reaching toward.
Attendees only need so many things that look exactly like what they bought at last year's fair. Customers moved on. Renegade is standing still.