The Prize FAQs

Find the answer to your question here

What is the aim of the Prize?

The aim of this prize is to promote the use of hand embroidered surface embellishment within the fashion, costume & textile industries. We provide artists, students, practitioners and enthusiasts with a platform to connect with other industry bodies; in turn gaining exposure, improving embroidery techniques and keeping the age old tradition moving forward in the modern world.


What are the categories?

The Fashion and Textile Art categories are divided into student and open subcategories. The categories are as follows:


Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery
Type of Entry


To qualify for the Student Category you must be in full or part time higher education at the time of registration. Registration as a students means you will benefit from subsidised entry fee and can submit work you are creating as part of your course.


If you aren’t in full or part time higher education, you will qualify for the open category. Registering in the open category is for anyone of any age. You can be a skilled practitioner, a passionate enthusiast or even a recent graduate.



Fashion entrants should design a fashion garment that takes inspiration from the Prize brief. Your submission should showcase your design skill as well as your ability to embroider. Judges will look at your concept, execution, construction, embroidery skill and overall presentation.


Entrants should examine the brief and produce an object that showcases their embroidery skills. The object could be a piece of jewellery, an artistic sculpture, an embroidered tapestry, a piece for home interior design etc. Judges will look at originality, embroidery technique, execution, construction and overall presentation.

What are the Prizes?

First Prize

◦ The winners in each category will be awarded with $3,500 USD as a top prize.
◦ A commemorative framed hand embroidered plaque produced by Hand & Lock’s skilled craftsmen.
◦ A years complimentary membership of The Textile Institute.
◦ A prize bundle of industry standard threads from Madeira.
◦ A weekend course at Hand & Lock.

Second Prize

◦ A commemorative framed hand embroidered plaque produced by Hand & Lock’s skilled craftsmen.
◦ A weekend course at Hand & Lock.

Third Prize

◦ A commemorative framed hand embroidered plaque produced by Hand & Lock’s skilled craftsmen.
◦ A weekend course at Hand & Lock.

Associate Awards

These are awards from companies and organisation Hand & Lock has partnered with. Typically an Associate Award recognises a specific skill or technique and the recipient receives an award directly from this partner organisation. For more information see the Prizes and Associate Awards page.



How do I register?

Registration for 2024 is closed. All online entrants must pay via debit card, credit card or paypal. Please ensure funds are available before registering. Please note, your Prize registration fee is non-refundable if you later decide not to submit an entry. Follow us to find out when 2025 is open.


I have not received an email confirmation upon registration?

Please ensure that you check your junk mail box before emailing us with your registration queries.  Towards the end of the competition we have a huge influx of entries so our response may be delayed. You will be emailed an order confirmation number and a link to a download which confirms your competition registration and gives you details about the first deadline.


Do you have to live in the UK to enter?

Our contest is open to embroiderers, students and enthusiasts anywhere in the world. 

PLEASE NOTE: Overseas entries please note – when sending parcels please ensure that you state that the contents have ‘NO COMMERCIAL VALUE’ adding a nominal value of $10.00 (USD) in any customs declarations, Hand & lock will not be responsible for any duty.


What type of embroidery can I enter: 

The Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery accepts all types of embroidery. Your piece may include more than one type of embroidery. 

The associate awards will be awarded to the entrant which shows exceptional skills in the area of the award, to find out more about the associate awards you can see them here: 2024 Associate Awards will be updated throughout the year – watch this space



How do I enter the associate awards: 

Associate Awards are selected by Hand & Lock Prize sponsors and are independent of the main Hand & Lock Awards. Each different award will have it’s own specific eligibility and selection criteria. These awards are selected from all submissions regardless of whether the entrant was selected for the Hand & Lock Prize. In some circumstances the entrant could win both an associate award and a Hand & Lock Prize award.



Can you participate as a team?

No – our rules state that we can only accept one name per application.


Can you enter more than one category?

You can enter more than one category for example you may wish to enter both the fashion and textile art category. You cannot enter both the student and open subcategories.


I’ve registered, what do I need to do next?

Each year registration closes at the end of March beginning of April. Once the registration period is finished, an online portal will open on the Prize website, this allows you to submit images for your entry. 

You need to submit 4 images of your work.

Your images must be JPEGs, preferably in square format

The 4 images should show;

Image 1 – The concept of your design, research and development e.g the beginning of your story and how your design connects to the brief. (This can be a collage of images but do not include text or images of your Pinterest board.)

Image 2 – Samples, progress and where you will be heading e.g the middle of your story (DO NOT submit multiple images or text)

Image 3 – A close up of your work e.g something important that you feel is important that the judges see and showcase your strengths and techniques (DO NOT submit multiple images or text)

Image 4 – Finished piece/Work in progress e.g the end of your story, if not yet completed, a clear idea of what your final design will look like. (DO NOT submit multiple images or text)

There is also an option to add supporting text to explain each of your photos, your concept and relationship to the brief, and techniques/materials used and about your final piece (max 200 words per image).

Please see below for examples of mood boards, samples and final design images.


The concept of your design, research and development.

The concept of your design, research and development.


Samples or progress and where you will be heading

Samples or progress and where you will be heading.


A close up of your work

A close up of your work



Finished piece/Work in progress.

Finished piece/Work in progress.



Please note that judges will use these images to determine who goes through to the next round and it is vital they understand your overall vision. Please ensure the images are in focus and not too light/dark.

No physical work needs to be submitted at this stage, you are only required to send your work to Hand & Lock if you become a finalist in the Competition.



How will I know if I have got through to the finalists round?

The 1st round of judging takes place in July.  We will send you an email to confirm your advancement in the contest around the start of August. If you are successful, it is at this stage you will be introduced to your mentor for the mentoring programme.

We make every effort to contact all entrants to let them know if they have or haven’t got through to the second round but, if you haven’t heard anything by the 31st July this means you haven’t been successful.


I’ve been selected as a finalist, when do I need to send my final physical pieces to Hand & Lock?

You will have spent the summer finalising your designs and consulting your mentor and you must send your final piece(s) to the Hand & Lock studio in London in September. Please note the studio opening hours are 9am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Any work received after this date will not be eligible for the competition.


What size should I make my garment?

UK Female clothing size 8: Due to the mannequins we use, please do not make your designs smaller than the following measurements: Bust 81cm / 32″
Waist 66 cm /26″
Hips 86.5 cm / 34″

UK Male Clothing size Medium: Due to the mannequins we use, please do not make your designs smaller than the following measurement:
Chest 96 cm / 38″
Waist 88 cm /35″



What happens to my submission after the Prize?

If you have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd we kindly ask to keep your submission for up to one year to display at the Hand & Lock studio and to offer for press loans to elevate your profile and highlight The Prize. If you require your piece exceptions can be made. Submissions that don’t place in the top three will be made available immediately. In both cases it is the finalist’s responsibility to pay for and organise the return of their submission. Due to the large numbers of submissions from around the world Hand & Lock regrets it cannot cover the costs of international couriers.


Can I defer my entry to the following year?

We do not offer deferrals unless there are serious extenuating circumstances. To be considered for deferral you must notify us a minimum of 48 hours before the submission deadline. Your email must include a detailed explanation of your circumstances and show us the progress you made prior to your change in circumstances. Your request will then be considered by members of the judging team and you will receive an answer within seven days.


I’ve registered but decided not to send a submission, can I get a refund?

The fee at the point of registration is non-refundable, under any circumstances. This fee contributes to the running of the Prize and the Prize fund itself. Only register if you are confident you can submit a worthy entry by the specified deadline.


My question has not been answered, how can I contact you?

Please email with any questions you have and we will endeavour to answer your query as soon as possible.

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