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CHAIN STITCH EMBROIDER

15 years after starting with nothing —
he’s a master of his craft

As a boy, Giulio Miglietta was captivated with gang culture. Not the violence or crime — but how different tribes and subcultures banded together and the way they identified themselves. The artist was fascinated with the badges and embroidered leather. They symbolised not only individuality and character, but community.

“I took risks — I wouldn’t have done anything differently.”

Moving to London with only £200 in his pocket, Giulio started out living in hostels but fast became homeless. After scraping together enough money to afford rent, Giulio got to work making screen prints and embroidering punk badges. Learning the technique from a friend, he used broomsticks and garden lights to expose the screens and his bathtub to wash them.

Over a decade later and Giulio is a master of his craft. After becoming interested in the ancient craft of chain stitch embroidery, he managed to track down a rare 20s Cornely chain stitch machine. With only one other person in possession of one in Europe — the uniqueness of his creations are amplified even further. Giulio’s work is woven through a spectrum of cultures, from motorcycle gangs wanting to distinguish their sects to bowling clubs and street gangs. And he’s just getting started.

“I always try and do something that other people don’t. Chain stitching was exactly that.”

Now based in East London, the Italian illustrator has carved himself a reputation as one of the most unorthodox names in customisation. Passionate about creating totally bespoke embroidery pieces and personalised designs, he uses wearers’ own garments as his canvas. His work encapsulates the idea of self-expression as he uses his art to breathe life into clothing, footwear, bags and whatever else he can get a needle through.

Dating back to 1860, machine operated chain stitch embroidery is a skill only a few have mastered. After almost being wiped out, Giulio incredibly managed to acquire one of the last remaining Cornely postbed stitch machines. He’s bringing the art back.
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