The pocket square has seen something of a resurgence over the past years and as a keen proponent of wearing pocket squares I am enormously pleased. It is far easier to buy pocket squares than it was a decade ago.
However, all too often the pocket squares we see in the gentleman’s outfitters are, well, a little samey. The usual polkadot or paisley offerings along side the plain colour squares. Whilst these type of pocket squares can be the staple of a good pocket square collection, they can be a little bit, dare I say it? …boring. Pocket squares are a gentleman’s way of showing a little flamboyance and so I am always on the lookout for pocket squares with a little more flair.
The Kinglet Calyptura – William Swainson Collection
Recently I had a coffee with Elliott Rampley, cofounder of Rampley & Co, an exciting new pocket square brand doing inspiring things. Like me, Elliott was a little tired of the usual offerings and wanted to channel his passion for pocket squares in to producing high quality, luxury pocket squares with a difference. Pocket squares with a story, pocket squares that you can’t resist pulling from your pocket and showing your admiring chums (it works – I am certainly guilty of this).
Working closely with the likes of the Tate, Rampley & Co work tirelessly to produce interesting pocket squares and have a growing number of collections drawing from fine art to create truly inspiring pocket squares. This is not as easy as it sounds, art is seldom square and so careful selection of workable art is undertaken and then there is a design process, done in house in London, to transform the work of art into something that will work as a pocket square.
The pocket squares are printed to the highest standard in Macclesfield (the home of quality silk). They are a generous size (42cm square) which allows them to wear luxuriously and give a full look in the pocket (All too often these days pocket squares are mean in size and because of this they slip in the pocket and look flat). The squares have hand rolled and sewn edges which is really important with pocket squares as it gives the edges definition and volume. Rampley and Co aim to make some of the best quality pocket squares available and I will certainly not argue that they have achieved this.
One collection that I am particularly keen on draws on the work of William Swainson (1789 – 1855), naturalist, ornithologist and artist most remembered for his illustrations of birds. He was the first to use lithography in his publications about birds. Lithography produced a monochrome image, but his images were then hand coloured according to the colours of the birds and the resulting images truly beautiful.
Rampley & Co use Swainson’s illustrations in their collection to produce a series of pocket squares which are little works of art in themselves. The borders and framings of the illustrations combined with the illustrations themselves produce squares that will have very varied looks in the pocket depending on how they are folded. A plain pocket square will always be a plain pocket square no matter how it is folded, a polkadot square always a polkadot square, but a square such as the art squares will look different with each different way you fold it exposing different parts of the design. To me this makes them much more fun to wear.
If you need a few tips on how to fold a pocket square here are links to both our own pocket square guide and also that of Rampley & Co themselves. Read them both and you won’t go far wrong!
You may also like to explore the Rampley & Co Fine Art Collection which showcases pocket squares such as “The Death of Major Peirson” shown below.