The idea of using a lockstitched piece of fabric for a shirt or other garment, is gaining traction in the apparel industry.
“People are using it as an inexpensive alternative to leather, as a fabric that can be worn in everyday wear,” says Lisa Larkin, founder of the Lockstitch International Foundation.
Larkin has been in the business for nearly two decades, and she says she’s seen a resurgence in the demand for the lockstitcher.
“It’s not just people using it to make clothes, but people also are using lockstitches to make things for themselves,” she says.
Lacking an adhesive, locksmiths will often place their locks in a fabric pocket or inside a zipper pocket.
Lately, she says, people have started turning to other materials for their clothing, including a type of leather that can also be used for the construction of clothing.
“There’s a lot of new materials being made,” Larkin says.
The American Apparel Council reports that more than 90 percent of the clothing items in stores are now made with a lockwork fabric, according to the company’s 2017 Retailers Report.
There are now several locksmith stores in the United States, including Larkin’s, which have popped up in several cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregon.
Lacey says she and her fellow locksmith workers have been working on their craft for years.
“Our work is a very traditional thing, and the work we do is not only about making clothes,” she explains.
But with the rise of social media and the internet, the industry has been able to catch on.
And Larkin is hopeful that the demand will continue to increase.
“I think people are very curious about it,” she adds.
“And people are really excited about it.”
The Lockstitcher Association estimates there are between 1.6 million and 2.6 billion locks in use worldwide, making it one of the most widely used locksmithing materials.
The industry has developed its own branding, logo, and company logo, as well as a variety of promotional materials.
There is a website, Lockstitches.com, where you can learn more about the industry and check out lockstikings.com for more information.