Edward Gucewicz and Moses Manley make up Lockwood Umbrellas, a new London-based company reinventing age-old craftsmanship. Nestled beside the Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, their pop-up shop is a charming display of hickory, oak, hazel and hornwood, weighed up by a large umbrella automation. Each umbrella is made-to-measure and constructed by hand from one piece of wood with duck cotton finishes and a fabricated canopy, before being dated, numbered and logged in Lockwood's archive.
Gucewicz and Manley previously worked at James Smith & Sons on New Oxford Street, where they learned their trade. With an encyclopeadic knowledge of the historic accessory and a flair for invention, they push the boundaries of the simple brolly: they recently constructed a prototype for a leather umbrella and are curious to develop a GPS model. Here, Moses Manley speaks to AnOther about their history and ideas.
What is the history behind Lockwood umbrellas?
It was formed after several years of apprenticeship in London at Europe's oldest umbrella workshop with the aim of bettering the quality of the traditional umbrella whilst also introducing a bespoke service and with a sideways view of working with the fashion industry on collaborations.
What inspired you to open the store?
We did a pop-up in NYC during Fashion Week and the response was tremendous, so we thought we'd see how it was received in London.
When did your interest in umbrellas start?
5 years ago. I appreciate them as objects and noticed they were remarkably underdeveloped as fashion accessories. So I thought I'd give it a crack.
How long does it take to make each umbrella?
1-2 days of handwork but the waiting list adds time to the delivery date.
What styles do you offer in terms of handles etc?
The umbrellas are built around one single stick of wood. We offer 6 different wood species with bark handles (chestnut, ash, hazel) and with polished wood handles (oak, hickory, maple).
What is the most unusual umbrella you have ever seen?
One of the most unusual umbrellas we have seen has a handle made from the diseased stump of a young chestnut tree. The Victorians called these 'Grotesques' and the disease causes the part we use for the handle to grow far larger than normal – we have one hanging in the shop.
What would you say to the man who says he won't carry an umbrella?
What's the alternative? Either wearing a hood, which is socially awkward and less effective, or you get wet.
Text by Mhairi Graham