Designers put a graphic spin on handkerchiefs

Simon Cook -- aka Stone and Spear -- has teamed up with scarf designer Lucy Jay to create a series of handkerchiefs bearing kaleidoscopic designs comprised of textures, graphic shapes and 'found' photography digitally printed on them. The results are unique and at only £24 are the perfect finishing touch to a guy's next excuse to get dressed up in your best suit.

We first met Simon at the New Designers show last year, as he was graduating from Nottingham Trent university, and he was featured in our showcase of the best grad talent of 2010. We sat down with him to finds out how his career has taken off -- and how his hankies came to be.

DA: What have you been up to since you were in our graduate showcase section last year?

SC: "Whoa. Well…I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great clients such as i-D and Wired and made time for some cool collaborations too. Earlier this year I moved to Paris where I’m currently freelancing at a pretty major fashion house. Things are going good."

DA: How did you come to work with Lucy on this?

SC: "I’d been a massive fan of Lucy Jay’s work for some time and eventually plucked up the courage to drop her an email. We hit it off straight away and began the work, which for the both of us was all about trying something new.

"The fact that I hadn’t translated my artwork onto fabric before and Lucy was yet to work on a smaller scale just made sense. By bringing the boyish charm of a handkerchief to life through our similarly eclectic style, we created a set of designs each with depth and character."

DA: How did you adapt your style to design of handkerchiefs?

SC: "I’ve always liked playing with mirrored imagery and having at least some form of symmetry to my artwork. This came as a starting point and flowed throughout the designs both subtly and pretty full on. Experimenting with fresh compositions, something Lucy’s all about, was the best way. After a while it all started to click."

DA: How were they printed? Did this affect how you created your designs at all?

SC: "Each design was printed digitally onto 100 per cent silk crepe de shine, here in the UK. Not only was the digital printing process a way of making our design bold, bright and perfectly defined, it meant the design -- down to the tiniest detail -- could be packed with vivid colours and heavy shapes.

"The manufacture of the pocket squares is really the most important process, as the designs need to look exactly as they do on the screen to the silk."

DA: What else influenced your designs?

SC: "We were both heavily inspired by gangsters and scientists. The idea of Tommy guns, test tubes, brawling mobsters and exploding chemicals all added to the excitement of each handkerchief"

DA: Where can readers buy them?

SC: "The full range is currently available at the Stone and Spear online shop along with the entire Stone and Spear collection as well as Lucy Jay’s store on Not just A Label. They have just hit the Design Museum’s store too and a shipment is awaiting delivery to Beijing."

DA: How would you like buyers to wear them?

SC: "Peak em’ up, square em’ off or stuff em’ in your pocket. Whichever you choose, keep it real."

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