AN EMBROIDERY STORY

It is on everything. You can hardly turn your head without spotting an embroidered satin bomber, leather handbag or velvet bootie. I suppose you could call it “the Gucci effect”, and blame the current embroidery overload on Alessandro Michele’s eclectic, magpie touch. There is no doubt that the Italian luxury house has heavily influenced the resurgence of this artisanal trend, but it is the millennial mindset on the consumer side that makes the more interesting story.

Oh, us millennials… We are a mass-market generation with an individuality obsession. Everyone is searching for a way to express their unique identity and this has given rise to the millennial fascination with DIY culture. In this digital era, we seek analog connections, hence all the “hipster” paraphernalia (records, polaroids, film….) and the pointed irony of the mainstream nature of this so-called niche. Nonetheless, this search for something crafted and unique in a mass-market world  is a valid one for our generation. We want to buy things that tell a story, and doubtless, a generic denim jacket says a whole lot less than an intricately hand-embroidered Italian piece with distinctive iconography and French text. I am, of course, talking about Gucci’s iconic “L’Aveugle Par Amour” (Blind for love) denim jacket that spawned plenty of high street copies (like the Mango one in the images below) and quite possibly bought the embroidery trend to the mass market.

Gucci’s decadently overdone, grandma chic style has heralded a maximalist age, with a “more is more” sentiment that finally offers some competition to minimalism’s long-standing, unrivalled rule.

Besides buying embroidered pieces, millennials have also embraced the literal DIY nature of embroidery by immortalising their favourite quotes, cheeky slogans and memories by stitching or patching them on to the garments they already own. Customisation and personalisation is the ultimate form of projecting your identity on to the canvas you show the world everyday – your clothing.

Words: Yolanda Senekal

Photography: Lana Koster & Yolanda Senekal

Outfit: Sissy Boy bodysuit, Topshop skirt, Mango denim jacket