2017 Brief: 'Celebration'

As Hand & Lock celebrates 250 years of embroidery heritage and tradition, we invite you to explore the theme of celebration in this year’s brief.

Context for the Brief

Embroidered textiles have been used across all cultures to celebrate significant life events and successes. Historically, embroidered textiles were highly valued not only because of their use of precious materials but also the time spent in hand production, particularly within the use of the technique of goldwork.

Within industry, technological innovations continue to inspire increasingly more varied and intricate textile surfaces and this is visible through the recent proliferation of digital embroidery on the catwalks. However, this is balanced by a resurgence of interest in maintaining craft skills and safeguarding this heritage.

In a reaction to throwaway fast-fashion, textile and fashion designers continue to question the sustainability of their practice


and explore. Not only do they reuse and recycle, but exploration of slow textiles and the consideration of the longevity of a project is of growing importance, as is using their medium draw attention to social issues.

From a wedding dress to highly embellished hip-hop sportswear, to the uniforms of decorated military officers, sequined party dresses and to the couture of the Met Gala Ball, playful embroidery is an integral part of celebration.

So for 2017 let’s celebrate! Celebrate history, celebrate global culture, celebrate your sense of place, celebrate your sense of identity, celebrate embroidery and celebrate life.

The Brief

Of course no CELEBRATION would be complete without an element of FUN and PLAY. This brief asks you to use ‘play’ to celebrate and express your personal creativity. Explore the balance between tradition and forward thinking, contrasting and embracing both heritage and innovation in a celebratory and creative way. Create you own response to the desire for the playful and unexpected.

“In a world of austerity and grown up responsibility, we are seeing the increasing desire to let go, to let loose and indulge in childlike freedom or sheer hedonistic joy… In a turbulent and ever more serious world, there is a craving for silliness and outright frivolity.

People are seeking occasions that allow them to let go of all responsibilities and inhibitions, and embrace outlandish hedonism.”

— Barkworth, H. (2014)

This celebration and expression of embroidery in response to the brief will be towards textile art or fashion and may choose to also embrace CAD machine embroidery within these categories.

Research references

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