In March, Carole Waller will be showing her new collection for autumn in Paris, and in Bath, where she is based. It draws on Greek and Egyptian mythology, and uses colours inspired by storm clouds, the sea, saffron, and earth. As well as this collection, she is working on a range with Beckford Silk, a company that has produced scarves in collaboration with Eduardo Paolozzi and Gillian Ayres for the Tate Gallery and Royal Academy of Art.
Nahid Rahman, too, paints straight on to fabric, and makes one-off scarves in her workshop in Tooting, south London. 'I like the idea of a scarf being part of an outfit - not just an offcut of fabric, but with properly thought-out borders,' she says. Rahman paints her background colours, to give extra vibrancy, and has her own stock of print designs on screens stacked up by her print table. She has been working solo since June, when she completed a textile degree course at Nottingham.
Rahman found there was a market for her highly-coloured scarves when she took a stand at the Chelsea Crafts Fair. With this boost to her confidence, she showed her scarves to a few shops, and is already doing business with Graham & Green in Notting Hill, west London, Browns, and Covent Garden's clothing and accessory emporium, Space NK.
'Setting up alone involves long, hard hours and not much money, but I love working with fabric,' she says. On an intensive day, she can complete two scarves, inspired by flags and banners, using a rich mixture of patterns, lettering and numbers. And, as if working 12 hours a day were not enough, Rahman is also applying her painting and printing techniques to silk shirts.
Fiona Pitkin's scarves for this spring/summer are all in pastel washes with roses printed behind layers of chiffon. 'I wanted them to look precious, as if someone had picked a rose and pressed it,' says Pitkin, who turned to scarves from clothing design.
The scarves also feature frayed edges to give a modern look to the faded, antiquey- looking colours. She has infiltrated the American market, having just completed orders for Barneys in New York and Los Angeles.
Rachael Pollitt's scarves are the most fun. Pollitt graduated from Central St Martin's last summer and on the catwalk made a feature of her six large, one-off square scarves, each telling a different story and each relating to a specific outfit.
Pollitt's designs are a mixture of modern icons and Australian aboriginal art. Figures wearing Levis and NY baseball caps dance around on surreal landscapes in which skyscrapers merge with sun and sand. Coca-Cola cans, hands and totem poles are also featured. These are vibrant, humorous scarves that work as a wrap or displayed on a wall.
No Walking Canvas, scarves from pounds 135 (0225 858888); Nahid Rahman, scarves pounds 115 (081-672 4465); Fiona Pitkin, from pounds 45 (071-221 8641); Rachael Pollitt, scarves pounds 150 (071-837 8591).
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