The people you meet - Jutta Hofer, CEO HKG EmbroIderies, Austria
Whilst the dust is just starting to settle on our European sojourn, I am reflecting on the amazing experiences we had but more importantly the incredible people we met along the way.
At the beginning of our trip, we spent an amazing ten days with Carlo and his fabulous family at Masseria Moroseta in the town of Ostuni, located in the southern Italian region of Puglia, where the sun always shines and everyone is happy and totally chilled out. It was the perfect destination for our yearly summer getaway with a mission to just do a whole lot of nothing. Carlo has created a beautiful restful and super chic oasis in Ostuni that attracts a lot of like-minded human beings, all looking for the same thing.
One such human being that I was lucky enough to meet and spend a few days with her and her gorgeous family, was Jutta Hofer. Jutta, her partner Hugo and their two super intelligent girls Sophie and Matilda checked into Masseria Moroseta for a few days of rest from Austria. Usually the question of “what do you do for work” is the first thing people ask each other, however when you are in a place that is just so beautiful the topic of conversation is based on the architecture, the linen, the beautiful hand-made ceramics and slowly you begin to realise that everyone has a common appreciation for beautiful design. When the conversation finally comes back to "so what do you do?" there are no surprises when you go around the dinner table and discover it is full of creative minds. When Jutta told us about her career as the CEO of her family embroidery company in Austria, you can imagine I was instantly intrigued to find out more about her and the business of embroidery.
HKG Embroideries was founded in 1956 by Jutta’s father, Josef Rupert Hofer in the town of Lustenau, Austria and was built on a love for creating the very best hand embroidered garments using traditional techniques. After 60 years the company is still family owned and run, with Jutta at the helm. They work with trade and private clients from all around the world and it was interesting to hear that the biggest demand for their intricate and premium craft comes from Africa. Jutta explained to me that women in some African nations value the dresses they wear to important occasions, such as weddings and tribal celebrations so highly that they are willing to invest a lot of money into the very best quality they can buy. An extravagant outfit is a clear status symbol for the women, much more than any flashy car or big house.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a beautiful tunic that Jutta had bought with her on holidays, an example of what her and the team at HKG had designed for a client in Africa and she was kind enough to let me photograph the piece against the white washed walls of the Masseria. Jutta explained that the brightly coloured printed cotton fabric for this type of dress is purchased in small quantities, then the coloured embroidered design is applied on top of the cotton, it is then washed for shrinkage. It is not unusual for the client to then request a bit of sparkle once the dress is complete and they always select premium quality Swarovski crystals to adorn their festive garments. This is investment dressing at it’s finest, every piece is a celebration in its own right.
Jutta and her team also work with numerous fashion houses across the world, so If you are looking for beautiful embroidery to play a part in your next collection, then you must get in touch with the team at HKG Embroideries.
I love meeting talented and inspiring fashion artisans, thank you for sharing your story with me Jutta, I hope to visit you in Austria one day!