"Being part of a supportive, loyal and companionable pack has always been something Walpole and its members have treasured. The long time we spent apart made us value companionship – the fellowship of Walpole – more than ever, and if man’s best friend became a symbol of that, well, it was something we wanted to celebrate with Sabina Savage’s wonderful cover design for this book. The lion-hearted spirit of British luxury will roar once more, and as we start to come through adversity, let’s set our sights on the stars: Ad astra per aspera."
Helen Brocklebank, CEO, Walpole
Sabina Savage’s eponymous luxury scarf brand offers heritage-inspired elaborate prints on exquisite fabrics. Each illustration is intricately hand drawn by Sabina, sometimes taking up to six weeks for a single design, before being printed onto the finest silk, wool and cashmere. Each collection is based around an imagined story, always featuring Sabina’s wild and exotic fauna. The detailed and multifaceted designs are carefully engineered around the fabric to create a unique print with a signature aesthetic. Each scarf is expertly designed in London then produced to the highest quality and skillfully hand-edged by the renowned artisans of Como, Italy.
You designed the cover for this year’s Walpole Book of British Luxury, can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?
The design is based on a heraldic coat of arms, traditionally used as a symbol of the bearer’s identity. There is a wonderful catalogue of symbolism behind a customary coat of arms, and each small detail has a message to convey to the viewer. For the Walpole Book of British Luxury, I have included the traditional lion and unicorn flanked by a pack of varied and mischievous dogs. Not only have our canine companions been invaluable company and comfort throughout this past year (for myself at least) but they represent such marvellous qualities to symbolise the goodness we have all seen in one another throughout the crisis; Kindness, compassion, courage and loyalty, not to mention dogged determination and persistence which we have all needed in spades! The Latin phrase embroidered into the banner translates as ‘through adversity, to the stars’.
You are also a former Walpole Brand of Tomorrow, why did you apply for the programme?
I had followed Walpole’s work for several years and am an admirer of many of the previous BoT alumni. It felt like the programme would offer me a wealth of advice and support I previously had no access to.
How has Brands of Tomorrow helped support and develop your business?
Brands of Tomorrow equipped me with the confidence to grow my brand, and the tools to help me succeed. As one of the smallest brands on the 2019 list, it was wonderful to be working alongside the other brands. I learnt so much from the BoT workshops, but just as much from sharing advice and knowledge with the other founders.
What impact has the last 18 months had on your brand?
We have seen a large uptake in online sales due to Covid and a shift in our wholesale business. As we sell worldwide, we have been fortunate that many of our stockists have been trading well throughout the pandemic. We have seen major production delays due to various lockdowns, and our 2020 schedules went completely out of the window! We have some very exciting projects coming up which have been pushed back a little, but I feel incredibly lucky that our customer base has remained extremely supportive and understanding of the situation. Brexit is also proving to be a tough issue for us on many levels, so I think the next year is also going to throw some hurdles our way. Hopefully ‘Ad Astra, Per Aspera’ will ring true!
Quick Fire Questions:
What was your big break?
I don’t feel there was one ‘lightning bolt’ moment, rather a series of small successes along the way.
What inspires you?
History, culture, travel, art, literature, and primarily the natural world.
What piece of advice would you give to someone wishing to start a luxury business now?
Your product is key; It’s worth spending the time finessing your product to ensure it’s the best it can be. The rest will follow.
What would you be doing in a parallel life?
I would probably be running a dog sanctuary in India (one of my many retirement dreams!)
What’s your favourite luxury?
My 1.5 hour walk or run to the studio each morning. Perfect head space.