We hit Spitalfields market today in search of a tailor's dummy for the forthcoming scarf studio shots. Though we didn't find exactly what we were looking for it was inspiring to have a look around. Some beautiful vintage scarves were in evidence around the market.
But the highlight had to be the Tea Dance with music by the Covent Garden Dance Orchestra. This is where East London's most fabulous pensioners can be seen fox-trotting for England. We love it! For details of the dances scheduled throughout the summer (and, which seem to be open to all) go to the Spitalfields website HERE.
Two weeks ago we shot our first look book in Brighton by the West Pier. We put the word about in the area, and offered a luxury silk scarf to the person who could best describe what they saw that day. The winner is Sophie from Hove, who will recieve an Age of Reason Scarf of her choosing. The collection goes live on the website in 19 days time.
"I saw the model poised like a statue in the rowing boat. She looked like a Queen in her gold make- up and a deep blue scarf. The sunlight looked beautiful that day, like in a painting. "
The label is called Age of Reason because it represents a seed change in our way of thinking about accessories. We seek to create scarves that will last you a lifetime; a scarf you'd actually hand down to your daughter even if it was in tatters. The galleon ship is an important emblem because it reminds us to explore new territory, to come up with new ideas, and not to fear being different by saying "Buy less, but buy quality. Be proud of your things and never throw them away. "
Age of Reason scarf designer Ali explains how she arrives at a finished piece, from concept to complete article.
A blank piece of paper can be a really intimidating thing. But I love that I have to get over that fear. Sometimes I spend hours just arranging my drawing table. It probably looks like I'm not doing anything at all, but it's all about getting into the head space, creating a zone for my ideas. I'll be thinking about everything from the print to the cloth. Everything has to work together to create the best possible scarf. Once I've done that I'll often head out for inspiration. I'm based in Brighton so finding a creative spark is not hard.
I usually start by walking along the beach or heading to the National Gallery in London, I don't know why but it draws me back again and again. I also like to go to the British Museum or walk around Brighton or London (Soho, Shordich or Camden) just looking at people. Then I'll go back to the studio. I try to keep it fresh with pictures and objects that relate to the current collection in my mind.
Sometimes I will listen to the same piece of music repeatedly. That might sound insane, but it really helps me to concentrate and maintain a drawing mood. For Bondage Dolls I listened to lots of Patti Smith, M.I.A and Dark Horses. I love female vocalists who tread their own path. I'm not too genre specific though.
I usually draw about 20 drawings before I get to anything I'm happy with. My tools are a fountain pen, inks, brushes and loads of watercolour paper. I use my i-phone to take pictures and splice them together roughly. My favorite designs are the ones where I get to make a mess, like the Union Jack series. There's a punk spirt that comes through if you just chuck paint around. I've destroyed a wall or two with red paint, it was a bit Hitchcock.
The printers are based in East Sussex too, which is great because we don't send anything out of the UK. We are really into Made in England so our sewing is done here as well. It's great for me to be able to talk about thread choices and the finish with our seamstress Nicola.
Every day when I finish my work in the studio I turn to a blank page and leave it for tomorrow, that way I have to make myself have a fresh idea in the morning. Or just throw some paint around.
Controversially many designers have been accused of labeling garments and accessories as Made in England when they are in fact made abroad. This could mean that a suit made in India was shipped to London where the buttons were sewn on. Often it still gets labeled Made in England. Age of Reason creates it's scarves in the UK using materials from local suppliers. We work with the best artisans to create a high quality product, and everyone from our seamstress, to photographer to make-up artists and models are UK based. When you wear an Age of Reason scarf you are really wearing "Made in England."