Forever in the pursuit of brands with stories, we’re delighted to welcome Age of Reason to Supernomad, and to feature an edit of their beautiful scarves here. We think the humble scarf is quite possibly the hardest working accessory in your wardrobe, and it can be the most versatile, surprising stowaway in your holiday suitcase. Throw a scarf around your neck, your waist or hanging off your handbag for an instant shot f interest and colour to your wardrobe; wrap the softer cashmere blends around your shoulders during the cold flight, cover your shoulders when visiting more conservative countries or places of worship; wrap them around your waist for an instant sarong; or loop them into instant halter or bandeau tops – perfect with shorts or jeans.
Age of Reason founder and designer Ali Mapletoft, a former London animator and film-maker, uses pen and ink to create striking hand-rendered prints in her Brighton studio. Ali’s artist parents gave her the taste for a vibrant creative life from an early age in Africa. Growing up as one of three daughters to artist parents who ran a village pottery in the rural mountain kingdom of Lesotho, Ali travelled extensively with her family, taking in the dramatic landscapes, art, and beautiful cultural contrasts of the continent. The family knew painters, weavers, print makers and sculptors, creating a first-hand art education in itself. Moving to the UK in the 1990s, at the height of the grunge era, had an influence on Ali’s creative outlook. Today she marries her own sketchy drawing style with bold colour combinations and textures inspired by her travel and personal history. A large dose of quintessentially British humour finishes off Ali’s signature style.
“I’m inspired by watching people, wherever I go in the world, whether I’m in Timbuktu or Milan, there’s something fascinating about people’s personal style and the way they carry themselves. Recently when I travelled to Morocco I was really struck by the elegance of the men’s everyday dress and the colourful vibrancy of women’s huge billowing headscarves. In London we aren’t quite as liberal with colour, but we do have a great nonchalant devil-may-care attitude to street fashion. I love that. There’s a sense that we really don’t care about whether we get fashion right or wrong, because we simply refuse to believe in those parameters.”
Ali’s recent trip to Morocco, designing in Riad Dar Darma, Marrakech, and in the palm gardens at Mamounia Hotel, which inspired the prints featured in the Pins and Namibia scarves here at Supernomad.
“I remember seeing similar confidence in Africa as a child; a Basotho man wearing a pair of sunglasses crafted from colourful electrical wire or a blanket embellished with safety pins, a woman with a skirt made from maize sacks and bottle tops, dancing with beads and promotional badges all over her hat. I love the joyful innovation in these memories, and that spontaneity is really important in my work. The first sketch I scrawl onto a piece of paper is usually the one that makes it onto the final scarf. I like the frantic quality of the initial thought. I’ve had to train myself to go back to the way I drew when I was 4 years old, to somehow erase all those years of art education and start again.”
The name Age of Reason is derived from the Enlightenment era, which represented the beginning of the breakdown of slavery in the Western world: they believe that supporting small enterprise keeps skilled people out of big factories. Age of Reason sources materials in Great Britain from reputable importers and traditional mills. No factories are used to sew the pieces; working with trained independent seamstresses is the backbone of the business, the majority being in Yorkshire, Sussex and Northumberland. They believe in empowerment through independence, and take great care to offer best-practice at every level of our business, from responsible sourcing to customer service.
Here are two of Ali's video tutorials for how to style your scarf, plus how to create it into a stylish top:
Ali’s work has been featured in the press including Stylist Magazine, Grazia, Red Magazine, In Style, The Times, The Telegraph, You Magazine, Metro, Drapers, Womenswear Buyer, Vogue online, and Susie Bubble’s renowned blog Style Bubble.
View our Age of Reason scarf edit here. More styles to follow very soon.