The Renegade Craft Fair
Number of locations
|Chicago, IL / New York, NY / San Francisco, CA / Los Angeles, CA / Austin, TX / London, UK / Portland, OR / Seattle, WA|
The Renegade Craft Fair is an annual series of events showcasing a curated selection of contemporary handmade craft Makers from a diverse array of disciplines. It is a weekend-long celebration of DIY culture; a thoughtfully curated marketplace where shoppers and micro-entrepreneurs make meaningful connections. RCF was the first event of its kind when it was founded in 2003, creating a platform for the underground DIY community to stake a place in the design market on their own terms. 12 years later in 2015, RCF is still the largest and most far-reaching indie-craft fair out there, attracting over 325,000 attendees across 20 events in 8 cities including Chicago, IL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and London, UK.
The Renegade Craft Fair debuted in September of 2003 in Chicago, IL. Co-founded by Susie Daly and Kathleen Habbley as a Fair which catered to the burgeoning indie-craft community they saw gaining momentum on various websites and online stores. At the time, existing arts or crafts events either weren't approachable to or didn't feel representative of this community. RCF's founders were Makers themselves and had been looking, without success, for an event to participate in which appealed to their aesthetic and budget. So, in true DIY fashion, they decided to start their own Fair. Renegade was born of a need for a contemporary craft event, relevant to both emergent and established Makers, with a simple and affordable application process, and easy participation. Their goal was to provide an opportunity for modern Makers of affordable handmade goods to exhibit and sell their work in a lively marketplace which reflected their community and creative enthusiasm. In the following years, RCF's DIY craft fair concept has blossomed into the International network of events that RCF is today. The Company prides itself on having pioneered the way for the indie-craft movement to flourish, shaping where it stands today, and growing with it into the future.
RCF'S Mission is to showcase the very best of independent handmade craft in a vibrant and lively marketplace which both reflects and shines a light on the work of today’s modern Makers. We strive to keep our events approachable and relevant to emergent and established makers alike, focusing on the highest quality and newest voices. Renegade’s aim is to act as entrepreneurial incubator, community gathering space, and festive celebration of all things handmade.
Contrary to traditional craft fairs, The Renegade Craft Fair features contemporary handmade items of all kinds: clothing, jewelry, artwork, screenprint poster art, artist prints & editions, small collectibles, zines, DIY craftkits, papergoods, textile goods, housewares, knits, plush items, ceramics, bath & body products, and more.
The Renegade Craft Fair grew in popularity as consumer interest in handmade goods has also increased – evidenced by the growing success of online sites like Etsy and Big Cartel, where many Renegade Craft Fair vendors keep online stores, and art, craft + design blogs.
TIMELINE + LOCATIONS Chicago, IL
The first Renegade Craft Fair was held in September 2003 in Chicago’s Wicker Park and featured 75 vendor booths. Each consecutive year saw an increase in attendance and vendor-booths alike, as well as media attention in local publications like The Chicago Reader. Businesses associated with DIY culture (ReadyMade Magazine, Venus Zine) also began taking an interest in the events, providing sponsorship and promotional support.
In 2006, in addition to an annual summertime Fair, the first Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market was held at the Pulaski Park (Chicago) Fieldhouse.
Summer 2007 saw the opening of Renegade Handmade (a brick and mortar storefront featuring work by RCF Makers) at 1924 W. Division St. in Wicker Park. RCF Chicago moved along Division St. between Damen Ave. and Paulina Ave. in Wicker Park. Later in 2007, Habbley left the Renegade Craft Fair & Renegade Handmade companies.
2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair, and that year, the fair boasted the largest number of vendors to date (370 vendors and 300 vendor booths). The end of 2012 also marked the closing of the Renegade Handmade store as the Company turned its focus entirely to producing RCF events.
In 2014 the Renegade Craft Fair Chicago Holiday Edition debuted in a new location, the Bridgeport Arts Center, after having outgrown its longtime home at Pulaski Park Fieldhouse.
2015 RCF Chicago:
RCF Chicago Pop-Up: June 27-28 | The Hideout RCF Chicago: September 19+20 | Division St. between Damen Ave. and Paulina Ave. RCF Chicago Holiday Edition: December 5+6 | Bridgeport Art Center
New York, NY
The first Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NY, occurred in June 2005 along the softball field area of McCarren Park and featured over 125 vendor booths. In 2007, the Fair moved to occur in the McCarren Park Pool, which by that time had begun to be used by a number of organizations as a neighborhood event space.
In December 2009, construction began on the total renovation of the Pool. That same year, The Renegade Craft Fair once again moved locations into the Park. The 2009 Brooklyn Renegade Craft Fair featured an expanded line-up of over 250 vendor booths and occurred around the track & field area, stretching across N. Driggs Avenue and around the eastside of the softball field towards the corner of N. 12th Street and Bedford Avenue. The Fair was again held in this same area of the park in 2010, and returned there in June 2011. In 2012, the Brooklyn Fair relocated to the East River State Park.
In 2012, in addition to an annual summertime Fair, the first Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market was held at the East River State Park. In November 2013, the fair was held at The Skylight One Hanson building adjacent to the Atlantic Terminal. 2014 Saw the Holiday Fair move to The Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
2015 RCF New York:
RCF Pop-Up Series (Saturdays in June) | East River State Park RCF Brooklyn September 11+12+13 | Brooklyn Expo Center (feat. a 1-day wholesale event Friday Sept 11) RCF Holiday Edition: November 14+15 | Metropolitan Pavilion
San Francisco, CA
The Renegade Craft Fair made its first West Coast trip to San Francisco in July 2008, holding their first ever event at the historic Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion. In 2009, in addition to their second summertime Fair there, the first Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco was held at smaller-in-size Herbst Pavilion of the Fort Mason Center.
December 21 and 22 of 2013 marked the final edition of Renegade Craft Fair's Holiday event at the Concourse Exhibition Center, which is scheduled for demolition in 2014. Renegade Craft Fair's Summer and Winter events will continue to take place at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion.
2015 RCF SAN FRANCISCO:
RCF SF + Wholesale Event July 17+18+19 at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion with Friday the 17th being a wholesale only experience. RCF SF Holiday Edition November 21+22 | Fort Mason Festival Pavilion.
Los Angeles, CA
In 2009, The Renegade Craft Fair added Los Angeles to their summer schedule, holding the event in July on the 13th floor of the California Market Center in the Fashion District, Los Angeles, California.
Returning in 2010, The Renegade Craft Fair held their second Los Angeles event outdoors at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, and held the first Winter Market there in December 2010. Both summer and winter fairs continue to take place in the park.
2015 RCF LOS ANGELES:
RCF LA July 11+12 | Grand Park DTLA December 12+13. RCF LA Holiday Edition December 12+13 | TBD
The first Renegade Craft Fair in Austin occurred in May 2010 at the Palmer Events Center. The Fair had its first Winter Market in Austin in November 2011 and continues to hold two fairs there per year. In 2015 RCF will find a new home in East Austin's Fair Market space for its bi-annual events.
2015 RCF AUSTIN:
RCF Austin May 16+17 | Fair Market RCF Austin Holiday Edition November 28+29 | Fair Market
In October 2011, the Renegade Craft Fair went international with the first-ever London Renegade Craft Fair, held in The Old Truman Brewery in East London's bustling Shoreditch neighborhood. .
2015 RCF LONDON:
RCF London April 11-12 | Old Truman Brewery RCF London Holiday Edition Nov 7-8 | Old Truman Brewery Portland, OR
The first Renegade Craft Fair event in Portland occurred in August 2014 at Rejuvenation (SE 6th St., between SE Salmon St. and SE Taylor St.)
2015 RCF PORTLAND:
RCF Portland July 25+26 | Rejuvenation
2015 RCF SEATTLE:
RCF Seattle August 1+2 | Magnusen Park's Hangar 30 RCF Seattle Holiday Edition Dec 19-20 | Magnusen Park's Hangar 30
An owl has been the mascot for The Renegade Craft Fair since its inception, inspired by a vintage, burlap tapestry Daly had purchased from a thrift store shortly before working on the first Fair in 2003. Daly approached her now husband, artist Mat Daly (the two were married in 2007), to produce a limited edition silkscreen poster for the first event and the tradition has stuck ever since, with Mat producing one limited edition, screen printed poster for each of RCF's 2 Seasons of events.
On the occasion of the 10th annual Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, Daly re-issued a limited edition of the first poster design.
- Renegade Craft Fair, About Page
- Koplos, Janet (2009-6-8). Letter from the Editor: The Past in the Present. American Craft Magazine
- Walker, Rob (2007-12-16). "Handmade 2.0". New York Times
- "Group Efforts: A Crafty Crowd Invades Wicker Park" The Chicago Reader.
- Drake, Monica (2008-06-12). "Renegade Craft Fair". New York Times
- Goode, Kristen (2009-6-3). "Renegade Craft Fair Hits Williamsburg". About.com
- Kahn, Jeannine (2008-07-14) "Sunday Photos: Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason". SFWeekly
- James, Evans (2009-07-09) "Westward the Course of Handicrafts Takes Its Way". SFWeekly
- Keeps, David A. (2009-07-09) "Renegade Craft Fair sets up shop in LA this weekend" Los Angeles Times