When Modern Embroidery Technology Breaks All The Rules

Meet talented creative Alice Archer. She is a British Designer successfully merging the old world thread work embroidery with high tech.

When the Telegraph described Alice Archer as turning 19th-century paintings into wearable works of art, I knew I had to find out more. As I researched the talented designer I learnt that it was from her West London showroom, that Archer was busy making embroidery relevant and commercial.

Alice Archer A/W 16 collection
Alice Archer A/W 16 collection

Using the digital machine, she maps out each individual stitch with a software computer program called Ethos and then she feeds it into a digital embroidery machine which then prints the images onto fabric. Each design can take up to a week of painstaking programming as it converts the model into a Jpeg image for the machine to stitch. Although this sounds quite tedious, the former design assistant at Dries Van Note acknowledges that without the new technology, the old-fashioned method would make the whole process even slower and that without the software she would not be able to deliver the heavily embroidered 20-piece fashion collection each season.

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With a BA in Fine Art and Textiles at Goldsmiths, and an MA in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art, Archer has so far produced three collections that have radiated “English rose with a twist”. When it comes to what she loves most about her designs Archer confesses, “I want to see really beautiful colours. I want the embroideries to be quite sculptural, and the shapes of the garments to be really flattering.”  On her luxurious and feminine garments, she adds “you don’t have to feel precious in it. I quite like that.”


With former Browns CEO Simon Burstein describing her work as innovative: “I thought there was something really very modern about it,” it was wonderful to discover that there was another designer who was also using technology to create their collection, she is Vita Kin. Having gained a fashion tribe of followers crazy about her folksy designs that boast intricate detail and embroidery, it seems that this trend is slowly becoming the norm. That is why I cannot wait to see what other talent will emerge from the old world of embroidery into the new space of technology.

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