Today I added a new product category to the shop: Silk Scarves. Dark Floral, Dark Floral II Black Saturated and Dark Floral II Gray on Silk Charmeuse (130 cm square) are the first products in the collection.
Soon (in a matter of weeks), I’ll be adding these same prints on Silk Voile (a more transparent silk with a matte instead of shiny surface), and I’ll be testing a smaller size (60 cm square) to see if that’s a nice addition to the collection, at a lower price point.
Here’s a look at some of the product photographs I took of the first three scarves. One of the great things about my new studio is that it has fantastic light for photography. That means I’ll be taking more product shots myself, which affords me the luxury of examining and documenting the products from every angle and in every position … Did I go a little overboard?
Well, I’m a little bit excited about this product! I've been in the planning/testing stages with the scarves for a long time (everything was sort of on hold for a while last year, while I was hard (read: obsessively) at work on my new design, Still Life with Shadows). So it's especially nice to finally go live with them.
Last year, I wore my Dark Floral II White on Silk Voile (also coming soon to the shop) prototype scarf A LOT. I don’t even want to say how often because you might start wondering if I ever change my outfit or bathe at all for that matter …
But that’s the beauty of the scarf, and I say this after getting to know this product intimately over the past year. It really does go with everything … I can wear it out to dinner or to a party; I can wear it with jeans and a wool blazer, a knit tunic and black skinny jeans … there’s nothing I’ve found that doesn’t look better with this scarf. Also, the colors are ideal for coordinating. There are so many to pull out and play off of. It’s truly the highly versatile - and fun! - wardrobe element that can go with me wherever I go. And I’m practicing what I preach here!
And let’s just talk about silk for a minute. Silk is, as it should be, a highly desirable fabric. It is the most hypo-allergenic type of fabric there is (with only 18 amino-acids) and feels amazing against the skin. Aside from that, the silks that I’ve sourced give the prints a whole new poetic dimension … the transparency, the draping, the movement … So many new qualities are revealed in the same prints I’ve been applying to wallpaper.
My silk scarves are, by the way, printed here in the Netherlands by a company that also prints for brands like Erdem and Dior.
On the occasion of this product launch, I also did a bit of research into the history of the scarf. Here are some more reasons why I’m SO excited about adding them to my product line:
- As discussed, they are a fun, versatile, beautiful and useful addition to any wardrobe. Unlike a dress or a pair of pants that won’t have the right cut in a few years, scarves can be worn forever and never go out of style.
- Scarves have been around for what amounts to forever. They’re used all over the globe, to different ends (think: cleanliness in dirty/sandy climates, warmth in cold climates, for uniforms, religious reasons/occasions …) But then again, who needs a reason to wear a scarf? If you have a neck, that’s reason enough! Necks will never be obsolete or fall out of fashion, and therefore, neither will scarves.
- Since the mid-twentieth-century (and even before), scarves have been an important product for couture fashion houses, who have established a tradition of commissioning artists to create truly special, wearable works of art. This process of back-and-forth between creative directors and commissioned artists often takes about a year. This kind of craftsmanship and commitment to quality sets the scarf apart in the fast-paced, deadline/season/trend-driven fashion industry and speaks to me as a maker.
- The scarf is a collector’s item. It doesn’t even have to be worn. Scarves can also be collected and displayed in other ways (framed, hung, boxed, etc. Collectors often collect scarves around a specific theme, for example: travel/geographic locations, or animals, or a specific brand … The value of a scarf can increase with time. A collection can always be added to, edited or passed on to the next generation.
- There are almost a million different ways to tie/wear them! Check out this link for inspiration.
Essentially, the scarf is a beautiful, versatile and useful fashion item that not only doesn’t go out of style, it can increase in value with time. It bridges the gap between fashion and art, at a price that makes it available to more than the happy few.
There's an existing history of artists creating art for scarves, and I would contend that this history is entering into a new era, with the possibilities afforded by digital printing.
Initially, prints were applied to fabric by a method of screen printing, which requires that each color is applied to the cloth through a separate screen. This is an expensive process. Just making the screens is an investment, then you’ve got the labor-intensiveness of the ink application. Now, though, with digital printing (introduced in the late 1980’s and taking the fashion industry by storm) we can print an infinite number of colors onto fabric in one go. More and more digital printers are accepting small order volumes, which is great for independent designers like me. Costs decrease; possibilities increase, enormously. Now prints, instead of having a flat, graphic quality, can also incorporate all the beautiful color gradations and expressive brush strokes that paintings do.
With my scarves, I want the wearer to feel like she has a painting, a real work of art, around her neck. That’s why I’ve chosen a luxurious fabric, digitally printed with painterly detail, in a large format (130 cm). Because of the print’s large scale, the scarf can be rotated to feature different flowers and segments of the painting. In this way, a single scarf can function as many different ones.
I like to 'toughen up' my floral scarves by wearing them with leather, denim or a textured knit. Next to the sinuous foliage forms in ‘Dark Floral II’, I like to wear jewelry with simple, geometric forms, for contrast.
With this product, I'm stepping out of interiors and getting my toes wet in fashion, which is something I've wanted to do since childhood.
I hope you like these first scarves and please know that more are on the way, imminently. While writing this post I received the first tests of Still Life with Shadows Blue on Silk Voile and I'm happy to say that we'll be putting this one into production in the next few weeks as well. It's love at first sight, with its romantic pinks and foggy blues ... The perfect accessory for a favorite pair of jeans.