From her boutique atelier in Aarhus, Denmark, Sarah Robinson of the fabulously named Robinson & Dapper sources the very finest Scottish tweeds, plaids and single-coloured fabrics from around 900 miles directly to the West. The sleek and simple Danish design values which she then applies creating bow ties, neck ties and pocket squares makes this company a godsend for the modern sophisticated gent with a yen for classic elegance. Here, Sarah tells Riddle more about her simple but devastatingly effective approach to men’s accessories.
Interview by Nick Scott
So, we’ll start by hazarding a guess – the “Dapper” in your name is not based on a real person?
Correct – Dapper is not a person, but the style and look of our products. I really liked the idea of using the old-school business name format of two surnames, but the fact that I’m the sole owner complicated that idea. The name Robinson & Dapper actually came to me as I was falling asleep one night – I literally jumped up and grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled the name down before going back to sleep. I think Robinson & Dapper is perfectly in line with our concept and design – taking the classic, traditional format and giving it a subtle, modern twist.
Do you remember when and how your love affair with fabrics began?
Having grown up around the Scottish Borders, I’ve always had an appreciation of Scottish wool fabrics, particularly tweed and lambswool. I’ve always felt that there’s something very special about wearing clothing and accessories made from high quality textiles. Apart from the fact that they look and feel so great, they give you a sense of confidence and satisfaction.
What did you look for in the various fabrics available to you when selecting who would be your suppliers?
I wanted to use established mill companies who use traditional methods in weaving their fabrics. From there, I chose our suppliers based on their specialities. For example, we have one supplier for lambswool fabrics, and another for tweed.
What does Scottish heritage mean to you personally?
I’m very proud to come from a country steeped in so much history and tradition. As far as heritage fabrics go, I think Scottish wool textiles are the key product that best represent the history of Scottish culture and industry. The methods still being used today to produce these amazing fabrics are centuries old, and there’s something very special about that.
I actually lived in Denmark for a couple of years before starting up Robinson & Dapper. After deciding on a career break, I came to Aarhus to spend some time with some Danish friends and to take some time to figure out what would be next for me. Aarhus is an extremely creative-driven city, with a strongentrepreneurship culture. I found this really inspiring and decided to stay. It was in this setting that my ideas started to come together and I began planning to set up my own business. After many months of planning, I launched Robinson & Dapper in May last year.
Scotland is obviously a nirvana for quality fabrics and craftsmanship – do you find that Denmark matches up?
I think it’s hard to compare the two countries when it comes to fashion and design. There is less interest in craftsmanship and heritage fabrics here in Denmark, and much more focus on the modern, minimalistic design that the Scandinavians are famous for. However, I also believe that this is slowly changing…
How would you describe the company’s main design ethos?
We try to combine the best of old and new. We use the finest heritage fabrics, woven using traditional methods, and combine them with modern design. Quality and craftsmanship are also extremely important in the making of our accessories – I design and handcraft each of our products myself at our workshop here in Aarhus.
Would you describe your products as being fashion, or more in line with classic elegance, and why?
I would say that our collection embraces both. Each of our lines are made up of a combination of classic styles and more fashion-forward designs.
Robinson & Dapper offers free shipping worldwide. See www.robinsonanddapper.com.