Terres Inconnues is our maiden collection, it's been over a year in the making and we're over the moon to be able to finally release it. On the store you'll be able to pre-order a small selection of the products that we are going to be releasing over the next month or so, so keep an eye on the website or follow us on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter to stay up to date on new releases (of which there will be a lot and very soon).
Pre-orders will be sent out on the 12th November and as a special thank you for being among our first customers we're covering the shipping!
Have a wander around the site to learn more about us, the collection and why we made it.
Introducing our third and final scarf fabric to be released in the Terres Inconnues collection: a smooth, smart, soft, warm wool twill! This is the most expensive fabric that we print on. The twill weave shows through the print giving the scarves a beautiful texture and natural look which we love, it also smells really nice!
Our choice of this fabric was inspired by the tales of two polar explorers: Shackleton and Nansen. Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic quickly went awry when he and his crew were trapped on an ice floe for over a year. With 5 crew members Shackleton then set out on what would be remembered as one of the greatest feats of survival in history, sailing stormy seas in a makeshift boat and conquering hitherto unexplored mountain ranges to reach aid. Shackleton was remembered by crew members for his inspiring leadership and unbending will.
The Norwegian Nansen was no less indomitable a character: zoologist, politician and polar explorer he was a true hero in his home country. Before Shackleton went South Nansen went North setting a record latitude in 1893 on skis before being forced to turn back. He survived two winters on the ice with one companion, fighting off polar bears and celebrating Christmas by washing their underpants and wearing them inside out!
Inspirational men not only for their polar exploits but also their staunch characters. We retell their stories in our printed wool scarves, adorned with portraits, arctic scenery, flora and fauna. The scarves are left with frayed edges for a more robust atmosphere and come in two sizes: large and extremely large! The Nansen design is also being released in a duffel bag. Available November.
Silk Chiffon is the second type of silk we’ll be printing on for the upcoming Terres Inconnues collection, and oh what a lovely fabric it is. Chiffon is a sheer and slightly see-through fabric, as a result it’s impossible to tell which side of the fabric was printed because the ink runs through to the other side perfectly! We selected a chiffon that is incredibly light and delicate to the touch, I showed one to a friend but she was scared to handle it because she thought she might rip it! Despite its delicate feel it’s actually very tough. As part of our product testing we put the scarves through quite a lot of wear and tear to make sure they’re not too flimsy.
Something that we are really keen to push with this collection is silk scarves for men. The silk square is a womens’ wardrobe classic and needs no introduction for most ladies. However the wearing of silk by men seems to be limited to the immaculately styled dandy, not a look to which all men aspire. For too long the EFFORTLESS PANACHE and RECKLESS COURAGE that accompanies a silk scarf has been denied to 21st century men.
In order to make the silk chiffon scarves more wearable for men we started by increasing the size of the scarves to 120cm x 120cm, a generous portion of silk indeed. These extra centimetres make the scarves extremely wearable, the increased length looks great on mens’ bodies and feels less dandyish than smaller silk squares. The see-through nature of silk chiffon softens the prints and makes them easy to combine with almost any jacket or coat. Of course the scarves still look great on women too.
The modern working man doesn’t have time to faff about tying a knot in his scarf or carefully folding a neat pocket square, that’s why we recommend simply folding the scarf in half into a triangle and chucking it on under a coat or jacket, like so:
Ready to infiltrate the Russian embassy and drink a lot of Gin and tonic.
Crepe de chine is a classic silk fabric traditionally worn by the Victorians during mourning. We looked to 20th century pilots for our styling inspiration for the scarves. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, the inspiration behind one of our scarf prints and she always wore a silk scarf.
Amelia standing next to her plane
Silk scarves for men were popularised by pilots in both world wars, the scarves would keep them warm and protect their neck from chafing as they scanned the skies for enemy planes.
World War Two pilots being briefed for a mission
We are doing two classic styles for the crepe de chine scarves: a 100cm x100cm silk square and a very wearable 22cm x 190cm rectilinear scarf. Most fabric printers in the UK will offer printing onto some sort of crepe de chine so this gave us a really nice amount of choice. In the end we opted for a specialist silk printer based in Worcestershire. The crepe we are using can be defined by it’s wonderful smooth texture and luxurious weight. The level of detail that can be achieved printing onto it is also truly incredible. During our sampling process we looked at a lot of different fabrics and printed onto several different weights of crepe to test what looks best, it was an arduous process but we’re over the moon with the results:
In case you didn’t already know all of our products are Made in Britain, and by Made in Britain we don’t mean Made in China then assembled in Britian, we do things properly. All of our printed fabric is made in Britain, our pattern cutting and sampling is done in Britain, we use British leather and our final products will be made in Britain. Making in Britain is unconventional and can be costly but there are several reasons why we chose to do it.
Our objective is to release highly limited numbers of beautiful products, this suits British manufacturing perfectly. Firstly British companies are always happy to make you samples and bend over backward to get it just right. This is great because to develop a good product you really do need to do A LOT of sampling. We’ve ordered printed fabric from four different companies in England and one in Glasgow! This leads onto the second point which is that most British companies are specialists at one or two very specific things. The truth is that it’s very hard to be really good at a lot of different things so the company that prints our crepe de chine silk and chiffon didn’t deliver a satisfactory canvas whilst the company that prints our canvas sent us some smelly leather and the company that prints our leather ONLY print leather because they don’t even want to get involved with faffing about in silk, so on and so forth, you get the picture.
This Silk Chiffon printed with a design inspired by Bruce Chatwin arrived today, it’s nice, but probably not as nice as a different chiffon we had printed, throw it in the bin!
The low minimum orders, great service and fast turnaround times of British companies have allowed us to sample a large number of different fabrics which means that not only are we going to launch with a great range that includes silks, wool and cashmere but we are going to have the best silks, wool and cashmere!
Making in Britain has also opened up the opportunity to collaborate with great designers in other fields like Jenny King. Jenny is a highly skilled embroiderer who has worked with clients like Louis Vuitton, Mary Katrantzou and Stella McCartney, she worked with us to do this beautiful embroidery over our Marianne North print:
Of course not every single detail of our bags are made by artists (otherwise we’d never get anything done), for some of our embroidery we made use of local Brighton (where our office is based) manufacturer Able & Willing. Able & Willing employ local people with various disabilities and recently did this charming piece of embroidery for us:
This embroidered dotted line marks Gertrude Bell’s great journey through the Middle East in the early 20th century
British manufacturing may not be the future for soulless mega corporations like Zara but for luxury fashion labels such as ourselves, looking to produce small numbers of beautifully crafted products, it’s perfect. Not to mention the comforting fact that we have visited the factories where everything is made and they are all rather jolly places, no collapsing roofs or slave labour.
Even our business cards are Made in Britain!