From bespoke chess sets and customised car interiors to monogrammed yoga mats and handmade shoes, purveyors of luxury can make their mark on just about anything these days. And when it comes to forging an emotional connection between owner and prized object, London, with its expert crafts people, heritage fashion brands and pioneering retailers, has all the creative solutions.
Take Royal embroiderers Hand & Lock, for example. No one produces a monogram quite like its team of specialist embroiderers. Founded in 1767, it is where Savile Row shirt makers including Gieves & Hawkes and Turnbull & Asser send their client’s shirts to be initialled. As do ready-to-wear designers such as Olivia von Halle, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren. Production director, Jessica Pile, who at just 25 is the youngest female director in Hand & Lock’s 247-year history, believes the explosion in monogramming is a reaction against poor-quality, disposable fashion.
”By monogramming an item, it becomes personal to you and your taste,” says Pile. “These days, we get all kinds of requests – from embroidering hidden messages into the lining of ties to placing initials on the pockets of jeans, iPad cases and card holders.” It’s a far cry from the early days of monogramming when an embroidered initial or name tag was required to identify a shirt in a busy boarding school or shared laundry.