Homemade Holiday with Hilary Corts

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Making a life out of what you love is always in season. The holidays just make for one more opportunity to celebrate the creative, the artistic and the all-around inspired. With Lucky Brand’s Homemade Holiday, we bring home some of our favorite local talents who represent their communities as they turned their passions into professions. Meet Hilary Corts of Rowdy Cowlick, as she gives us a glimpse inside her world of chain stitch embroidery.
“It feels like now more than ever, individualism and self-expression are being celebrated in a way that encourages us to be ourselves.”
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Shop: Cardigan, Sweatshirt, Uni Fit Jean
How long have you been doing chain stitch embroidery? What do you love most about it?
I started working on a chain stitch embroidery machine in 2017. Before that, all of my embroidery was made strictly by hand. I love that by working on these vintage hand-operated machines, the uniqueness and quality of handmade art are still there. In addition, the physical act of stitching often turns into a moving meditation practice for me.
If you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone on a custom piece, who would you choose and why?
Karamo Brown (of ‘Queer Eye’) and Hayley Williams (Paramore), for the same reasons: they’re both incredibly talented and inspiring people who have made positive changes in the way people think about themselves. Plus, neither of them are afraid to express themselves through their clothing choices! I’d also like to collaborate with Silvana Estrada because I recently discovered her music and I can’t stop listening to her.
Why do you feel personalization and customization has become so popular in today’s society?
Unless we know how to make our own clothes, we are pretty limited to dressing our bodies in what comes off the shelf. It feels like now more than ever, individualism and self-expression are being celebrated in a way that encourages us to be ourselves, no matter how different we may be from others. Customization is a way to make something truly our own.
What are you looking forward to the most this holiday season?
Relaxing! The holiday season is a particularly busy time for a small artist like myself, as more people are in the market for special gifts. It’s a really great feeling to finish up that last commission on the list, drop it in the mail and then stretch out on the couch for a few days.
Any exciting projects you’re currently working on?
Before the pandemic hit, I started working on a collection of customized pieces for my pal Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance to wear onstage during his band’s reunion tour this year. The shows are obviously on hold now, but it has been exciting to work with an artist whose music I’ve been into since my teenage years. I also just finished up the first project I’ve ever done involving rhinestones—a jacket for fellow artist and musician Nick Steinhardt of Touché Amoré.
I feel grateful for any opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face with my artwork. It brings me so much joy to create pieces for people based on something they love or something they’ve dreamed up. I hope the art I’m making now will someday be passed on as family heirlooms.
Check out Hilary on Instagram: @hilaryjcorts @rowdycowlick
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