Threading together cultures through craft, Clo de Vila is a celebration of embroidery and community, driven by a desire for authenticity.
Founded by French embroidery extraordinaire Justine Bonenfant, Clo de Vila offers divinely detailed accessories designed in London and hand-embroidered in India by highly-skilled artisans.
After a decade in fashion working on luxury pieces for labels including Dior, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy, Justine realised that ‘Made in Europe’ often translated to ‘partly made in India’ – with the Indian artisans responsible for embellishing exquisite catwalk creations going uncredited. A two-year tenure at a Chennai-based embroidery atelier teeming with talent crystallised Justine’s conviction that the country’s hidden craftsmen deserved real recognition.
Determined to remove the stigma around the Indian connection, Clo de Vila consciously partners with certified workshops that share the same values. The brand seeks to readdress the power imbalance between buyer and supplier by shining a light on the gifted hands working in the shadows and shunning the constraints of the fashion calendar.
Like a curiosity cabinet of treasures discovered at the world’s most fabulous flea market, the Clo de Vila look is eclectic yet expertly curated – combining the time-honoured traditions of Indian artisans with haute couture embroidery techniques and an offbeat sense of humour.
This connecting of worlds echoes the act of embroidery itself. Even in our recent isolation, embroidery is a way to connect to the human touch. Incredibly demanding, it requires patience, time and the full attention of another person. Long used as a medium to tell personal stories, embroidery can be seen as a kind of sewn autograph, a tactile language, demonstrating the magic of one mind communicating messages to another through stitches.
Through thoughtful collections, Clo de Vila aims to honour the heritage and process of Indian craft. In a world of fast-fashion and throwaway trends, the label highlights a slower art form. Absorbing and mindful, and with a repetitive, almost ritualistic quality, hand-embroidery provides the perfect antidote to the relentless pace of modern life – valuing longevity over immediacy.
Nostalgic yet contemporary, romantic yet witty, each piece produces a sense of spontaneous individuality. Like little good-luck charms, these timeless and trans-seasonal embroidered decorations bring new life to favourite garments and interiors, carrying the stories of their makers beyond borders and across generations.
What's the Clo de Vila?
In villages across India, this thread of communication runs from generation to generation, with ancient embroidery expertise passed through families. The Clo de Vila brand name alludes to this idea, being a reference to the house built by Justine’s great grandfather. Weathering two world wars and sheltering five generations of the same family, Clo de Vila speaks of the power of perseverance and the beauty of heritage.