Founded in 1767, Hand & Lock is a bespoke embroidery atelier that has been at the forefront of its industry for 250 years, specialising in a vast array of ancient and modern practices and disciplines.
Their core bespoke service encompasses a spectrum of skills – from traditional hand techniques to cutting-edge digital embroidery – that has seen it enthusiastically taken up by couture designers, Savile Row tailors, the Armed Forces and the British Royal Household, among many others. Everything, from hand monograms and bridal customisation to goldwork blazer badges and machine-embroidered logos, is produced at this central London atelier, and every commission receives the highest care and attention from a team of dedicated designers and expert embroiderers.
In 2021, the brand pushed the boundaries of its craft, exploring new and innovative technologies while retaining the ancient techniques on which it was founded. It continued to develop established methods to suit contemporary demand and style, working with fashion houses including Dior and Celine. It also partnered with Coloreel, a Swedish textile innovation brand with ground-breaking technology that enables high-quality colouring of textile thread during the embroidery process.
As the first part of its ongoing plan to develop a more sustainable practice, Hand & Lock is developing these new methods to create heirloom embroidery pieces and add life to existing textiles. By creating limited production runs – only what is necessary – it aims to minimise environmental impact.
Conscious of its wider embroidery community, Hand & Lock has loaded its website with a treasure trove of resources for enthusiasts, including toolkits, books, materials and videos, alongside feature articles on the embroiderers behind TV and film costume dramas, upcycling through the ages, and ways in which embroidery can boost your physical and mental well-being. ‘The last two years have brought new challenges, not only to the way we work as a team but also the way that we connect with our wider embroidery community,’ says Production Director Jessica Jane Pile. ‘The relevance of embroidery as an art form, and way in which people can express themselves, have never been more apparent. In response to this, we developed online classes as part of the Hand & Lock School, which made our workshops accessible to embroiderers worldwide for the first time.’ Not content with just virtual events, this busy brand then hosted the Embroidered Arts Exhibition, its biggest embroidery exhibition to date. This sought to shine a light on embroidery artists from all over the world and provide them with a space to gain vital exposure. Sure enough, 2,000 people visited their work over the five-day period of the exhibition.
Aiming to inspire visitors of all generations, the exhibition was accompanied by workshops, classes and talks, and also provided a forum for the brand’s annual Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery. A global competition for professional and student embroiderers, providing them with new opportunities and exposure to a wider audience, the prize this year saw participants enter from countries as far-flung as Peru, Singapore and Australia, answering the brief: Digital Doppelgangers in a Virtual Universe.