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8A Hughes St
Potts Point, NSW, 2011

+61 (0)2 8057 5933

Skarfe is Australia's premier scarf boutique. We source & select the finest scarves from around the world, and ship to your door for free. Skarfe also offers custom digital printing services, & works with talented local artists on limited edition scarf collaborations.

Blog

SILK ART SCARVES BY PHILLIP AYERS

Brad McGlashan

Silk Art Scarves by Phillip Ayers is a luxury Australian label specialising in the creation of wearable art. Now in its second year, the brand presents the new 2017 collection, a mix of tonal shades and vibrant patterns.

The signature style of the brand is the artist’s vision expressed through abstract photography. His unique perspective is captured and fabricated on a range of high quality silks. The artworks are vibrant, and express the energy of movement, colour and light. As an avid traveller, Phillip Ayers shoots in locations around the world, in situations that evoke passion and romance.

Skarfe's product edit focuses on Phillip's Royale Collection, all produced on a high quailty silk twill, with hand-rolled hems. Each limited edition scarf measures a classic 100cm square, for an elegant, everyday outfit accent.

Phillip Ayers only uses SEDEX Approved suppliers. The scarves are ethically produced and created using environmentally friendly dyes and natural materials. The scarves are produced in numbered editions and are hand finished with rolled hems. 

Shop the new collection here

WHEN OPERA MET JASMINE: NEW FROM BIRD & KNOLL

Brad McGlashan

East meets West with “When Opera met Jasmine”, the inspired A/W 2017 showcase of wearable wanderlust from Australia / New Zealand accessories label Bird & Knoll. 

Introducing six new additions to Bird & Knoll’s celebrated collection of luxurious, oversized scarves, each piece depicts an image of an iconic destination, captured via the camera lens of Natalie Knoll and transposed on to the wearable canvas of the scarf. Charting a rich cross-cultural journey, “When Opera Met Jasmine” traverses the globe and celebrates in the rich and colourful imagery of eastern and western culture. 

The collection merges designers Natalie Knoll and Macayla Chapman’s visual storytelling of far-flung global destinations including London, New York, Tuscany, Bali, New Zealand and Hong Kong, with their tactile cashmere-blend. This season the duo debut a stunning Italian blend of cashmere and modal woven in the foothills of Como, Italy. The new fabrication represents the perfect warmer complement to Bird & Knoll’s existing lightweight eastern wraps and the ultimate tactile harmony. 

“When we initially researched our signature composition we knew that we wanted cashmere, but as beautiful as it is it can ‘pill’ and ‘pull’. The modal, a fibre derived from the beech tree, makes it strong and hard-wearing and coupled with the cashmere it remains a beautiful soft canvas for our imagery. As well as its durability, it travels extremely well, packs really small and light and decreases very quickly when hung over a door or chair,” explains Natalie Knoll. “We love the versatility of cashmere and modal too,” adds Macayla Chapman. “So easy to wear as a wrap, a scarf, a sarong and a headscarf.”

The Bali, New Zealand and Hong Kong scarves are made from Bird & Knoll’s ‘Eastern’ fabrication, a lightweight mix of 10% cashmere and 90% modal. The Italian collection, woven in Como, Italy, is a slightly more ‘wintery’ combination of 20% cashmere and 80% modal, making for an even softer and more luxurious handle.

Shop the new range here

CUSTOM PRINTING: TATSUO MIYAJIMA AT THE MCA

Brad McGlashan

161101-MCA_Miyajima_-3282.jpg.2000x10000_q85.jpg

We recently worked with Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on a custom scarf design to accompany their major Summer exhibition, Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect With Everything.

Tatsuo Miyajima (born 1957, Ibaraki) is one of Japan’s most renowned contemporary artists, known for his sculptures and room-scale installations incorporating light and numbers. Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect With Everything is Miyajima’s first exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere. It encompasses his sculptural works, rooms and environments, and performance videos.

Time and its passage are explored through the works and represented visually by multiple, small digital counting devices. Miyajima developed his first customised digital counters in the late 1980s, using light emitting diodes or LEDs. These ‘counter gadgets’ remain central to his art today, their red and green palette expanding in the mid-1990s to include blue, then white, as LED technology developed in and beyond Japan.

The scarf features a detail of Warp Time with Warp Self (2010), a work which bathes viewers in immersive coloured light and mirrored finishes. The scarf is printed to 100% silk chiffon, with hand-rolled hems and is available exclusively from the Museum of Contemporary Art gift store for the duration of the exhibition (03 November 16 - 5 March 2017).

Plan your trip and buy tickets to the MCA exhibition here or to enquire about our custom digital scarf printing, contact Skarfe via email at info@skarfe.com

BOXING DAY SALE!

Brad McGlashan

Our 3 day 30% off Boxing Day Sale is on now! Use discount code THIRTYOFF at checkout until Midnight Wednesday AEST, to receive 30% off all purchases, and free global shipping! Or visit our new Hughes Street store, open 11am to 4pm between Christmas and New Years. Happy holidays and happy shopping!

JUNGLE BOOGIE WITH VYF BUDAPEST

Brad McGlashan

We're super excited to introduce VYF's second season of scarves, Jungle Boogie. 

VYF is a young emerging design team hailing from Budapest, Hungary. Their highly stylised, almost kitsch artworks combine elements of paper cutouts, illustration and photography. The works are then digitally printed to a soft silk cotton blend, and finished with bold silk satin trims.

Jungle Boogie features motifs of summery, suburban sprawl, in retro, Hockney-esque colourways. And if you've been on the hunt for smaller-styles of scarves, the range also includes bandanas! Shop the collection now.

NEW STORE OPENING!

Brad McGlashan

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 10.42.58 am.jpg

As you may have heard, Skarfe has just moved around the corner to a new location at 8A Hughes Street, Potts Point! We'd like to warmly welcome you to our new store, and to celebrate, we are hosting a Welcome & Christmas Drinks evening on Tuesday December 13th from 6pm. As the festive season kicks off, come and peruse our luxury scarf lines which make excellent gifts for family and friends. With a choice of designer new arrivals and Skarfe's classic cashmere range, you won't want to miss the opportunity to select a stunning scarf (or two) for your loved ones this Christmas! We look forward to embarking on this new chapter with you all!

SILENT CONTOURS BY FRONT ROW SOCIETY

Brad McGlashan

Berlin-based Front Row Society continues their unique work with international artists for the new season collection, Silent Contours.

Marking a departure from somewhat softer motifs of seasons past, the Silent Contours design challenge asked Front Row's artists to seek inspiration in industrial structures; the linear details, geometric elements, and the shadows they cast. The outstanding results can be seen in the current collection of oversized 100% cashmere scarves, available in store and online now.

Shop the collection here, and enjoy your own piece of wearable art!

AT LAND BY MIRADOR

Brad McGlashan

"To wear to the beach or the ballet."

Lauren Elise Casser, founder of Australian textile label Mirador, designs scarves which surpass trends and focus on longevity, both in terms of design and product.

Like the Spanish term Mirador, Lauren’s designs represent a viewpoint to admire something grander than yourself – a fond memory of warmer months; a glimpse of the sublime.

Sourcing high quality fabrics and embracing classic design, Lauren’s At Land collection of printed organic cotton scarves / sarongs can be worn as large wraparound scarves or lightweight summer garments. Lauren hand paints all of her designs before transferring them to a silk screen to create her unique painterly pieces. Locally made and genuinely hand crafted, the Mirador product is ethically cut and sewn in Melbourne and the brand is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia.

The prints featured in At Land were painted around the idea of the Japanese Zen garden – the intention being to capture the intimate essence of nature rather than imitate it. Shop the collection here.

BEAUTY IN NATURE: VICTORIA SMYTH SCARVES

Brad McGlashan

Having taken photographs in Aspen, Colorado, what inspired you to want to translate these onto scarves? Where did the idea stem from?

The photographs I took of bark from the Aspen tree were really taken out of curiosity.  The marks on the trunks were so expressive that I wanted to record them.  It was only when I saw the enlarged image that I saw how beautiful they were up close and so I wanted to do something with the images.  Scarves have long been an enjoyment of mine so the idea came quite naturally.

Your work started whilst on holiday in Aspen. However, your brand now also exemplifies the beauty of nature in Australia. When you photograph in Sydney, which suburbs attract you the most? And although your scarves are all quite distinct, they are all linked through your choice of subdued, natural colours. What attracts you to this tonal palette over more striking, vivid colours?

I photograph wherever I happen to be. It is almost an obsession now I’m afraid - even my friends are taking photos for me on their holidays and recommending places to visit.  Yes, my palette is quite subdued at the moment but that is largely the result of the nature of the bark.  In my next collection I will have some very beautiful and strong coloured scarves from photographs taken last summer in Sydney - the bark changes dramatically depending on the time of the year and some of the new bark is spectacular. 

Have you ever been formally trained in the arts or as a photographer?

I trained as an architect and then much, much later as a colour consultant.  I have worked in design and architectural heritage too but have always dabbled in design and colour. This latest project is a bit new as I have had to learn a bit about business!

Shop the beautiful Victoria Smyth range here!

AMANDA TESTA'S 'KINGDOM'

Brad McGlashan

Sydney based fashion and accessories designer Amanda Testa has combined her unique aesthetic flair with her love for lush jungle landscapes in her debut collection Kingdom. Drawing inspiration from post-Impressionist French painter Henri Rousseau’s lush foliage series, Testa has converted friendly, curious jungle creatures into irreverent, hand-appliquéd clutch bags. Each bag is personified through a unique totem and exotic talisman to clutch, carry and covet.

Where did your fascination with jungle animals start from? We heard that you drew inspiration from French artist Rousseau, but have you also been inspired by any real-life jungle animals?

I've always adored the Rousseau jungle paintings and looked to them for a 'theme' for this collection. His paintings already featured stylised animals, I've just taken it a bit further with the motifs in my designs, making them more stylised. I'd actually developed several other creatures too, but decided an edit of four pieces would make a great debut, choosing animals that were both fierce and beautiful...I quite enjoy the balance of dangerous, playful and pretty.

Kingdom is your debut collection - what advice would you give to readers who have been waiting to design their first collection, but haven’t quite been able to figure what aesthetic their brand should embody?

Any designer's aesthetic or brand will evolve over time so I wouldn't attempt to nail it down too tightly. I know I personally look forward to exploring all sorts of inspiration in the future! Some of my favourite designers have developed their 'signature' over many years, and what they're known for now is not what they started out doing...the best advice I have, is to gather inspiration, sketch, play with materials, experiment....it all goes into the melting pot of developing your own unique voice.

Social media is generally seen as a way of targeting a wide audience. Your brand however seems to be targeted at a very exclusive, niche market. How much do you think social media has helped you to reach your target audience?

My pieces aren't intended to attract everyone, so yes those that are drawn to my brand and aesthetic, appreciate and understand it wholeheartedly, and social media will continue to be wonderful for like-minds to seek each other out.

Your bags evoke quite a distinct character - if you had to name 3 fashion designers that embody the essence of your products, which would you pick?

Schiaparelli, both past and present, Bill Gibb, and a 70's-era Yves Saint Laurent mood is always close to my heart!

Shop our edit of the Amanda Testa bag collection here!

BIRD & KNOLL NEW SEASON "PER TUTTI"

Brad McGlashan

Per Tutti (Italian meaning: ‘for all’) celebrates the wonder of travel and provides a window into the lives of locals.

Bird and Knoll share their 2015 European travel experiences in their SS16/17 collection - an artistic narrative captured through the camera lens and transposed onto the “canvas” of their signature luxurious scarves.

Per Tutti is for all to enjoy - sun loungers in Amalfi, pastel coloured laundry in Vernazza, umbrellas in Rome, secluded coves in Greece, rooftops across Paris and drifting boats on the canals of Venice. The collection exhibits a kaleidoscope of colour and local flavour, which plays to a universal desire for travel, adventure and wanderlust.

Shop the new collection here.

SOPHIE & THE SEA

Brad McGlashan

Source: Instagram Cat Roberts

Source: Instagram Cat Roberts

We've been a proud stockist of Sophie Robertson's diaphanous silk chiffon scarves for a good couple of years now. Uniquely Australian, the threatened Great Barrier Reef and its marine life inspired her brand's genesis. A summer essential, her sheer silk scarves seamlessly translate from street to shore. Join us for a quick Q&A with Sophie, and shop the range here

You’re originally from the U.K. and studied at St. Martins. How did you end up in Australia and what’s kept you here? 

Yes, that’s right. I grew up in Bournemouth – a seaside town - and I studied Fashion Photography at Central St Martins. It was the best education I could imagine, and not because I was taught how to take a photo, but the complete opposite – it was the sense of freedom and exploration that I enjoyed...

Why did I move to Australia?! Well honestly, I followed my heart ten years ago! That didn’t work out but I fell in love with Australia along the way - I think it mixes the two places I grew up - the seaside life and all of its activities of the South coast, and the lively city-life of London. I love the lifestyle in Sydney and the endless opportunities this country has given me; I am an official Australian now, and I feel blessed to call it home.

Tell me about your interest in diving and the marine world. Has it been a lifelong hobby, or something you discovered more recently? 

I grew up by the sea and I feel happy and calm when I am by the water. I seemed to always incorporate water into my work throughout my studies and had begun experimenting with using disposable underwater cameras for photo shoots in various swimming pools in London... I learnt how to scuba dive with underwater photography as a specialty and was offered a job to work on a live-on-board boat in Cairns and jumped at the chance. This is when I took the photos for the first collection. I haven’t been diving as much since being in Sydney – which is probably why the collections have been more ‘land based’ of late...! 

And what inspired you to turn your underwater photography into scarves, and how did you go about it? 

It seemed like a natural continuation -  I had all of these photos and I wanted to use the images to create something beautiful yet accessible, and to me, scarves were the solution. I was excited to start a fashion business and had plenty of friends who were also starting similar brands and small companies. After having done plenty of research and seen many many samples I decided that digitally printing onto silk best suited the images, and it has since developed into a larger range including chiffon scarves and sarongs. 

Running your own small business can certainly be difficult. What are some of the more challenging aspects and experiences you’ve come up against? 

Most definitely! I have had a lot of challenges over the last few years. Doing my accounts is definitely my least favourite aspect of running the business, but this is balanced out by the parts I enjoy, such as the social and creative elements. 

If you could dress any woman in one of your scarves, dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

Blondie, I really like her - she is the perfect mix of sophisticated, interesting and unexpected. I would love Lucy Turnbull to wear my scarves in Australia also.

Any exciting projects on the horizon? I’m looking forward to seeing your botanical range! 

Thanks Brad. Botanica is based on photos I took of The Royal Botanical Gardens - one of my favourite spots in the city. I am enjoying taking on collaborations – for example I am working on custom scarves for the new convention centre in Sydney, which will be inspired by its architecture, and am also working on a collection based on White Island in New Zealand.

CASHMERE

Brad McGlashan

Image: Loro Piana

Image: Loro Piana

A Basic Overview of Cashmere

Cashmere is one of the world’s finest materials. It’s the staple of quality and style in countless genres of fashion—including scarves. Soft to the touch and extremely delicate, cashmere is mysterious while also highly desirable. Cashmere is fine in texture, strong, light, and soft. Garments made from it provide excellent insulation, approximately three times that of sheep wool. Cashmere is also softer than regular wool.

Let’s take a closer look into the world of cashmere and what makes this fiber so highly prized.

Cashmere Origins

The name cashmere originates from Kashmir, a region in northern India that eventually became widely known in Europe for gorgeous shawls. Cashmere has been manufactured in Mongolia, Nepal and Kashmir for thousands of years. Later on, European manufacturers developed better technology for processing cashmere fibers which led to a major boom in cashmere popularity during the twentieth century. Today, cashmere is used in pillows, blankets, shawls, slippers and of course, scarves.

Cashmere wool fiber for clothing and other textile articles is obtained from the neck region of Cashmere goats. Cashmere goats produce a double fleece that consists of a fine, soft undercoat or underdown of hair mingled with a straighter and much coarser outer coating of hair called guard hair. For the fine underdown to be sold and processed further, it must be de-haired. De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair. After de-hairing, the resulting "cashmere" is ready to be dyed and converted into textile yarn, fabrics and garments.

Cashmere Blends

Not all cashmere is created equal. Many are referred to as cashmere blends.

Silk and modal both blend particularly well with cashmere, and giving it a sheen and handle that is quite different than cashmere alone. Cashmere may also be blended with cotton to produce a less expensive, cooler item with similar characteristics and softness of a more expensive 100% cashmere garment. 

Why Cashmere is Best

Real cashmere is luxurious and feels incredible against the skin. It is also durable and makes for an excellent investment. Wrinkle resistant and easy to take with you on the go, it’s the perfect travel garment. Cashmere is also ideal for cooler climates as it insulates heat perfectly.

For nearly two hundred years, cashmere has been the quintessential fiber used in only the finest garments. Investing in cashmere offers years of enjoyment as a return. You can never go wrong choosing cashmere.

What to Look for When Buying a Cashmere Scarf?

The best advice is to buy from a reputable, knowledgeable, and long-term supplier of quality scarves. While shopping, analyze the item by rubbing the palm of your hand along the surface of your garment to see if fiber rolls off into small tuffs. If it does, that’s a sign of a poor quality item.

High quality, luxurious, and perfectly processed cashmere is a gift that scarf lovers can’t overlook. Its origins are rich and diverse stretching back thousands of years, and today it continues to bring joy to those of us who appreciate the finer details of our scarves.

IN LOVE WITH ELOI

Brad McGlashan

Images: Elois

Images: Elois

We chatted to Austin, Texas-based paper cutout Queen Paige Russell about the inspiration behind her brand Eloi. A graphic designer and artist by trade, she also reforges her original artworks into wearable art in the form of whimsical, yet perfectly polished scarves. Won over from first sighting, we've been been huge fans of her unique work and playful attitude for a season now, and will no doubt continue to be for many more seasons to come.

On a more serious note, Paige's scarves have some of the best colour show-through we've ever seen on a finished product, and are hand-hemmed perfectly. She makes a damn fine scarf, and is always good for a laugh. What more could you want from a designer? Shop her stunning range here.

Could you describe the physical process of making your artwork?

Well. All of the designs are made from construction paper cutouts. I usually begin by choosing a color palette so I don't go too insane, then I just play around cutting shapes until I have a good concept down and layer and layer and layer until I've decided I'm finished. I then photograph the piece and trace each shape in the computer to prepare for printing.

Which artists do you look to for inspiration? Past and present?

I love outsider art, my boyfriend's 8 year old's drawings, John Weseley, Henri Rousseau, Sandro Botticelli... 

How did you wind up making scarves from your artworks?

I thought it was a great way to make prints of the cutouts, screen printing them onto paper just didn't translate, the patterns needed to be fluid and take on a new meaning and purpose.

What are your interests outside of making art and scarves? How do you spend your weekends?

Hiking with the dog, playing tennis, watching trashy television, cooking, going to the library, drinking in excess, avoiding plans with people, amateur tap dancing around my house (usually unclothed)...

What are the biggest challenges in your line of work?

Building my business whilst continuing to make art that's authentic. I find myself neglecting reaching out for new business because all I want to do is work in the studio, and vice versa. Sometimes I don't feel like making work that will be for someone to wear, but I have to keep churning out new designs. These are all good problems to have.

Any new or exciting plans for the future?

Yes! Branching out. My patterns will be seen in many other contexts very soon....Happy day! 

PRINTTASTIC TUESDAY: APPETITE FOR DECORATION

Brad McGlashan

We sat down and chatted to the uber-talented Bettina McIlwraith of Appetite for Decoration recently about Skarfe's collaboration with artist Jess Johnson. Bettina is something of an all-round Sydney creative director, stylist, collaborator and consultant. Her inspiring blog touches on independent retail, art and of course, print. Totems and alters are a big passion, perhaps her raison d'être. This is her second alter dedicated to our artist collaborations, the first being in 2015 using Kushana Bush's work Reading the Bird Entrails. Here's what she had to say:

Print tastic Tuesday is dedicated today, to an awesome shopping spot, a salon of scarves called Skarfe in Sydney’s Kings Cross. This diamond in Sydney’s retail rough is owned and run by native New Zealander, Brad McGlashan, who sources the globe for the most super of scarves to adorn yourself and//or your home with. Also, and my favourites, his collaborations with artists, the current collective effort being withJess Johnson of whitenoisedisco. Print tastic? Most definitely, infact this art-for-your-body will literally blow your beautiful minds. I made an altar in honour of the activity-filled Jess Johnson X Skarfe “Screensaver” scarf. Bend + stretch. X

LOUISE GIBSON X FRONT ROW SOCIETY

Brad McGlashan

Fashion brand Front Row Society presents a new collection inspired by international artists. The brand collaborated with Berlin-based artists Louise Gibson, Michelle Jezierski and Santiago Taccetti to create wearable and stylish pieces. Through careful curation, these artists were selected to enhance Front Row Society’s aesthetic.

Front Row Society began as an initiative to engage the community with the fashion they wear. The latest collaboration was developed following an open call, which asked artists to submit works that could be translated into designs. The winners were voted in and their designs were actualized into high-end fashion.

In keeping with this collaborative spirit, their latest collection translates visual art into fashion. The textures and colours from the artists’ work become elements of scarves, bags and other accessories. Designers worked closely with the artists to find meaningful ways to incorporate these visuals into a cohesive line.

The scarves inspired by Louise Gibson’s sculptures maintain the beige and transparent tones from her pieces. The flesh and muted colours become 3D shawls and embroidered details.

The sophistication is present across the accessories from Front Row Society this season. The brand understands how to give artists a platform in fashion, while maintaining wearability. Items can be bought from stores in worldwide, including SKARFE. For a listing by country and a better look at their brand, visit here. To see further examples of Front Row's collaborative work with artists (in store only), visit the Sydney SKARFE boutique here. 

Partial text credit: Berlin Art Link

WINTER SALE: ONE NIGHT ONLY

Brad McGlashan

It's that time of year! Our annual Winter sale commences this Thurday June 30 in store only, from 6pm to 9pm at SKARFE, 4C Roslyn St, Potts Point. Samples and specials from as little as $50, 20% off all scarves, and 30% off all Sarah Curtis Panamas. With over 30 brand new cashmere scarf styles. Join us for a wine (or two!) and a fun night of shopping! Phone orders welcome on +61 2 7900 2965.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SCARF

Brad McGlashan

Image: Moschino

Image: Moschino

How to Care for a Scarf

There’s no denying it, you adore your growing scarf collection. You’ve possibly spent years collecting beautifully designed silk, cashmere, wool and cotton scarves and you want to maintain their great condition. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep your scarves gorgeous for decades with a proper care and washing routine. Let's touch on the basics of proper scarf care.

Cleaning

Always wash your scarves according to their label. If it says “dry clean only” then send it to the dry cleaner. Scarves that are hand-dyed should be especially looked after as their colours may bleed if washed incorrectly. 

Frequency of cleaning depends on the type of fabric used. A good rule of thumb is two to three times a season max. Also, avoid wringing out your scarf after cleaning. This causes damage and can disfigure the shape of your scarf. Often it's best just to give your scarf a thorough airing and steam. Don't have a steamer or busy travelling? No problem. Simply hang your scarf in a closed bathroom while showering, and the steam should help drop out any creases and wrinkles, while also removing odours.

Stain Removal

Clean stains only with bleach-free stain removers. Use a cotton swap to carefully apply the cleaner and use a small amount of water to rinse it clean. There are several excellent high-end soaps and washing products available. A great example are the Tocca Laundry Delicates, in beautiful fragrances and handy travel-size bottles.

For silk scarves in particular, a good washing substitute can be a dab of gentle hair shampoo in tepid water. Silk, after all, is a protein just like your hair. Rinse delicately, and lay flat to dry.

Storage

Properly storing your scarves is critical to their longevity. Delicate satin scarves need to be rolled and tucked away in a cool, dry area such as a drawer for proper keeping. Scarves that you wear daily can simply be draped over a hanger for safe keeping.

It’s imperative to keep your scarves out of direct sunlight so as to avoid discoloration of the fabric. A closet works well if you aren’t storing them in a drawer. We supply boxes with all scarf purchases at Skarfe, and encourage our clients to use them for storage. Cloves and cedar balls are excellent moth deterrents, and also help your scarves smell great. Keep some in your delicates drawer or wardrobe.

Conclusion

These are just the fundamentals to caring for your scarves. If you would like more information on fabric care, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at Skarfe. Otherwise, I wish you and your scarves a happy and long life!

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SCARVES

Brad McGlashan

Queen Nefertiti wears a silk scarf under a headdress.

Queen Nefertiti wears a silk scarf under a headdress.

Are you curious about how the scarf become the high-brow fashion accessory it is today? With origins dating back to ancient Egypt and Rome, the scarf has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Consider a brief history of this fashionable accessory below.

A Brief History of Scarves

The modern scarf has its origins all the way in Ancient Egypt, where the first recorded scarf was used by Queen Nefertiti who was said to have worn a “tightly woven scarf topped with a conical headdress” in 1350 BC. Under the Chinese Emperor Cheng, scarves made of cloth were used to mark military rank. Later on in Croatia, the scarf continued to play a role in military ranking, with higher ups wearing silk scarves and lower ranking soldiers wearing cotton.

However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that scarves became a popular fashion accessory. For the greatest portion of its history, the scarf was subjected to use as a sweat cloth, or to keep clean. That changed when fashion designers saw the potential to capitalize on the fabrics and designs coming out of regions such as India.

The French fashion empire Hermes designed the first ready-to-wear graphic silk scarf in 1837. That same year, the fashion industry in Europe and America embraced scarves after Queen Victoria sat on her throne and popularized gorgeous silk cravats with stunning graphic prints. The designs and fabrics used denoted class ranking, and served to signify fashion sense. The birth of the modern scarf had just taken place.

Progression of Fabric & Designs

As scarves grew in popularity, manufacturers experimented with various types of fabrics. These included silk, cloth, cashmere, chiffon, cotton, wool mixes, muslin, and modal. The original scarves are believed to have been designed from wool fibers, with more polished versions forming in China when silk was the prized fabric.

Most pieces featured the same or similar patterns and graphics through much of the 19th century. As the industrial revolution took over in the 20th century, however, the use of new prints and designs came onto the scene. Once again, French fashion designer Hermes led the way towards embellished designs printed onto beautiful handwoven silk scarves.

Today, high-end fashion designers around the world produce custom printed scarves in collaboration with innovative designers. Graphics can be pulled from fresh artwork and applied to premium fabrics to create one-of-a-kind designs. Scarves are more than just a fashion statement, they are truly a work of art.

Looking to The Future

As new technologies emerge, scarves will continue to evolve in design, color, and creation. If their history has taught us anything, however, scarves will continue to be at the forefront of fashion for many years into the future.

View Skarfe's current contemporary scarf range here.