2023 Finalists - Open Fashion

After months of waiting and hoping, our Hand & Lock Prize finalists have finally been announced. The finalists were informed by email and their names are now being published on social media. From hundreds of entrants, our esteemed judging panel have selected 24 finalists for the 2023 Prize, six in each of the four judging categories. These talented embroiderers are now working with our mentors to develop their final ideas. Whatever their final piece looks like, you’ll have to wait to see it at the prize exhibition and prize giving. In the meantime see below for their names and hints of their impressive submission.

Dorine Leenders




Born and raised in Belgium, though recently moved to the US, Dorine Leenders’s previous career as a physics teacher still nurtures her immense love for nature, play and colour, which influences her work greatly. Having had no former formation in fashion or (hand) embroidery, she tackles the two fields with great curiosity, passion and drive to figure things out herself, one stitch at a time.



Vella Akhtimer




Vella Akhtimer is an artist and designer of the chuvash slow fashion brand  HERACHA. The area of interest include the Chuvash traditional culture, technology,  hybrid art. The artist explore the theme of self-identification and other existential  problems. She works in such mediums as embroidery, clothing and installation,  video and sound. 

Grace Gatley



Grace Gatley is an embroiderer trained at Falmouth University, and now based in Cheltenham, England. She is a seamstress at an independent bridal atelier, a lover of fine fabrics and joyful embellishment, and a firm believer in the meditative power of creative embroidery. 

Megan Neko



Megan Rose Neko studied Fine Art at Colchester School of Art, graduating in 2010. In 2015 she became a coordinator of her local Stitch & Bitch group. She specialised in embroidery in 2020 and her work is inspired by nature, animals, & people. Megan lives and works in Colchester, UK.

Yasmina Viale-Fraine



A French fashion designer and entrepreneur in Hong Kong, Yasmina started dressmaking in her mother’s atelier in Paris. She is a French École Lesage-trained embroidery professional and artist, an alumna from Institut Français de la Mode, and one of the very few non-Chinese, professionally trained CheongSam makers in Hong Kong.

Holly Shepley



Holly is 25 and living in Manchester after graduating with a Fashion degree from Northumbria University in 2020. She is currently working on a runway collection, hand-drawn tarot deck, jewellery and embroidery, including the embroidery for Sam Smith’s anchor corset created by Ed Marler on their current Gloria tour. 

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