You may not recognise the name Hand & Lock, but you’ve almost certainly seen the company’s work. Everything from the Union Jack flag waved at the 2012 Olympic Games to the uniforms of the Queen’s bodyguards have received the Hand & Lock touch, along with collections for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Founded in 1767 by Huguenot refugee M. Hand, Hand & Lock – the product of a 2001 amalgamation of the original company and fellow embroidery business S. Lock Ltd – has amassed an impressive roster of clients, from the late Princess Diana to Sir Paul McCartney, and is happy to embroider shirts for the general public, right up to the Royal coat of arms. “The context of the embroidery we create is so diverse,” explains head designer Scott Gordon Heron. “It’s a huge spectrum that spans fashion and interiors to military, ecclesiastical, theatre, film and artists.”

However, it isn’t just the company’s wide skill set that has contributed to its enduring success. Hand & Lock’s most prized asset is a team of highly skilled embroiderers obsessed with detail, who spend hours painstakingly hand-stitching each masterpiece. “At the moment I’m working on a beautiful bedspread for a chateau,” says Heron. “It’s in the Gothic Revival style and measures two metres long and one and a half metres wide. By the time it is finished it will have taken six months to hand-stitch.” Having the patience to create such pieces is a personality trait possessed by only a select few – something Heron’s university tutors spotted in him early on. “My teachers told me, ‘You’re an embroiderer,’” he explains. “I was confused, I couldn’t even sew a button on a shirt, but they could tell from how meticulous I was about detail.”

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Mar 22nd 2018

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