Meet The Artisans

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As our name suggests, smocking craftsmanship is at the heart of Smock London. Every piece is individually hand-sewn by artisans. Hand-smocking is a skill which takes time, each dress takes up to three days to complete and mastering the craft takes years of practice. Collections are produced slowly in limited editions and conceived to be passed down generations. The result is unique, heirloom quality pieces that are better for the artisans and for the planet.

Collections are designed in London and brought to life by craft communities in Madagascar and Vietnam using responsibly-sourced fabrics and threads. Supporting these artisan communities and safeguarding this age-old craft is a founding principle, we are committed to making our growth a force for good. For every sale, a donation is made to a child in need within the community of Smock London’s artisans.

Our hand smocking is not done in a factory. It is not organized by companies on a production run. It is a highly accessible, organic craft, built up by communities of Women, in small local groups of 10-15 people. Each team has a leader who distributes the panels according to skill and workload. The panels themselves are pleated and stitched by the same artisan wherever suits her best – be that with others or at her home working around children, family and home life.


Aged fourty, Truong is an experienced smocker in the Smock London team, with over twelve years perfecting the craft. In this time she has become a passionate and exquisite artisan. Truong has a passion for smocking and can smock the most difficult curve and wave patterns beautifully. She is mistress of our beautiful Mermaid Tail smocking motif: made up of layers of perfectly undulating waves, it requires immense skill and accuracy. Truong can also pleat fabric manually without a machine which is something that takes many years to learn. She works from home where smocking allows her to divide her time flexibly between her 18 year-old daughter, household tasks and work.  She is grateful for the flexibility that smocking gives her to work at home, earn money and chose her hours. Watching her work is mesmerizing.



Meet Nguyem. She is a team leader who has been smocking for over 30 years. She is originally from the North of Vietnam but now lives in a bougainvillea filled neighbourhood just outside Ho Chi Minh. As the team leader, Nguyen is the mother hen of this smocking sisterhood, teaching and training the newbies and solving smocking conundrums as they come up. She is incredibly skilled in different stitch types as well as tricky pleating. When Nguyen was a child she loved to knit clothes for her dolls and dog, she thinks this passion lead her to smocking! Nguyen has two sons, her youngest son and his wife and child live with Nguyen.


Than is one of the youngest and fastest members of our smocking team. She was inspired to take up smocking after seeing her neighbour stitching panels 15 years ago. The team leader Nygen Them took her under her wing and she is now one of the most versatile artisans on the team, skilled at honeycomb, curves, zigzags and manual pleating. For Than smocking offers her the opportunity of earning money creating something beautiful, while flexibly fitting around the needs of her two daughters age 15 and 18.

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Once upon a time Thu was a policewoman. After retiring three years ago she took up smocking as a means of developing a new skill and earning money. A proficient tailor and knitter, smocking is the next creative feather in her cap. Her favorite stitches are the diamonds and zigzags.

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Tran is a newer member of the team. She has been smocking for five years after learning from the Team Leader herself. Tran has one son who is 27 years old. Always smiling, Tran prefers zigzag and diamond stitch designs. Tran tell us “Smocking is gentle work, which suits my personality and is kind on my health.”

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Nguyen is the smocking soul sister of the group. She feels smocking is in her destiny and tells us it is the love of her life, beyond her grown up daughter. When she began 30 years ago, smocking came to her completely naturally, she intuitively knew how to stitch. Today she is one of the most skillful and experienced artisans on the team. She is master of difficult outline stitches and is head of innovation when it’s time to try out new stitch designs and combinations.