Sitting here this morning I cannot believe how I survived these last two weeks, last night being the final push for a client for Paris Fashion Week. With an average of 15 hours’ work per day, the London and Paris Fashion Weeks have really taken their toll on the Hawthorne & Heaney studio. Threads and beads lie everywhere and mountains of patterns, sketches and drafts, empty cups of coffee and three empty frames are all that’s left of the madness that has been the last three weeks.
Every fashion week season is a wonderfully busy time. This February saw the studio swell to four embroiderers and our first ever intern. Our mornings started (usually with a coffee and some seriously unhealthy food) at 8.30 when the girls would arrive and start feverishly stitching away on the design I had drawn out and annotated for them.
The techniques have ranged from Military gold work for PPQ, James Long and Sophie Hulme to tambour beading and silk floss satin stich for a London client showing in Paris – Reem Juan.
The star of the studio was a long antique gold metallic tambour and silk-work dress (which I can’t show you yet!), punctuated with diamantes down the front and back. This work was occasionally interrupted by other urgent requests and, as you can imagine, all with the same deadline.
After a particularly late night/early morning with a 7am finish I had the pleasure of watching our work seven hours later on the Men’s day catwalk of London Fashion Week for James Long. With little more than a 24 hour turn around the embroidery pieces arrived from our over seas suppliers and were applied and added to then shipped to the seamstress for the show that day at 2pm.
Unfortunately for fastidious embroiderers, the Fashion industry moves very fast and often there is very little time to bring a designer’s inspiration to reality. Luckily my environment is full of dedicated and extremely hard working staff, who really love the challenge. We are looking forward to a little down time, but this season has been the best yet and long may it continue!
Claire Barrett is an embroidery designer who has been working in the embroidery industry for six years. A former Creative Director at Hand & Lock, Claire runs Hawthorne & Heaney, dealing with celebrity clients such as Kanye West and high profile companies such as Henry Poole & Company Savile Row tailors. Claire is passionate about making embroidery accessible to everyone by offering sponsorships to young designers and even running the London Embroidery School to teach beginners classes to those who are interested in getting a taste of what embroidery has to offer.