Age of Reason offers luxurious sought-after scarves with a playful and provocative punk twist. The UK accessories label, which is fast gaining a cult following in Britain and abroad, creates high quality, limited-quantity scarves, pocket squares, shawls and wraps in silk, wool and cashmere–modal blends. Designer Ali Mapletoft’s much-loved prints are inspired by an audacious collision between her African childhood and the streets of London. Her 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.
Ali’s artist parents gave her a thirst 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 was never short of inspiration. As a child she 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 so her childhood was an art education in itself. Moving to the UK in the 1990’s, 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. 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.”
“I want Age of Reason to be the antidote to cute kitten and chitzy flowers on scarves, my passion is to surprise and delight people by creating things that are more thoughtful, bolder, naughtier or more exciting than expected. A scarf should never be boring, it should become part of your own style story and be a very special rare thing that can’t be found everywhere”
Age of Reason scarves are made in the UK from the finest natural fibers and high quality pigments. The label produces two collections yearly, as well as limited edition special release scarves and pocket squares, which are usually snapped up quickly by avid followers of the studio.
Photography © 2014 Emma Gutteridge