With a climate so unpredictable, it’s no surprise that the scarf has struck a chord as Britain’s favourite accessory. And, leading the way is a collective of entrepreneurial female creatives, each of whom has turned their craft into a thriving opportunity. Calling upon some of the most sought-after names in the industry, we talk to our British brand founders about finding their feet.
Lily and LionelFashion and textiles have been Alice Stone’s business from birth, and now – named for her grandparents – her London-based label is weaving innovative digital prints into fine silk scarves.
On founding her line “Lily and Lionel was born out of an innocent idea: I saw a gap in the market for beautiful, conversational printed scarves.”
On scarves “The right accessory can update your whole look – it’s a way of tapping into seasonal trends and wearing print in a non-intimidating way.”
On British design “[Britain has] the finest art and design colleges that produce designers who can stand on a global platform and are constantly pushing the boundaries.”
Working exclusively with British manufacturers, Jane Chadwick and Jess Quinton are preserving the UK’s traditional skills, reinventing hand-knitted accessories with graphic jacquard designs.
On founding their line “We have a passion for the craftsmanship of this country’s knitting industry - we had a vision to blend these traditional skills with our own contemporary design aesthetic.”
On scarves “Scarves make you feel good in every way. They can instantly transform your look and, in winter, they are incredibly warm and cosy. Not a lot of people realise that wool is also waterproof.”
On British design “Britain has a reputation for alternative or idiosyncratic designers but the best thing is that when we make something we make it well.”
For over 20 years, designer Jo Gordon has drawn on the yarn-spinning legacy of her native Scotland to create forward-thinking knitwear that supports local mills and wool producers.
On founding her line “I commissioned my first knit as a teenager - a copy of a much-loved and much-darned hat that belonged to my dad. It looked perfect and worked beautifully. The hat had been reinvented.”
On scarves “Scarves are cosy and comforting to wear and can brighten any outfit. They are the perfect canvas to play with the composition of colour and pattern.”
On British design “British design is always innovative, imaginative and stylish.”
Born from Heti Gervis’ flair for screen-printed fabrics and painted textiles, Heti’s Colours’ distinctive designs unite the many aspects of textile design as wearable art in which scarf plays canvas.
On founding her line “My background is in printed textiles as well as predicting and producing colours for the fashion industry. Scarves combine these two obsessions, creating small contained explosions of colourful wearable design.”
On scarves “Scarves are the ultimate finish to any outfit adding individuality with ease – an accessible piece of luxury.”
On British design “Innovative, confident, original and craft based – think William Morris.”