Interview with SCOUT
SCOUT - inspired by much-loved literary character Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird - "she is curious, brave and playful, qualities we admire and aspire to as we establish and grow our brand."
New to Tessuti is bedding and textiles brand SCOUT. They are the loveliest (and warmest) around, we can't keep our hands off them! Made from 100% baby alpaca, a fibre that is naturally hypoallergenic and wonderfully soft and warm, is also beautifully lightweight.
Made with quality and integrity in small production runs in textile-rich countries including India, Portugal and Peru, they also, wherever possible, seek out production and collaboration opportunities in their home country of Australia.
We spoke to SCOUT's creative director Alex about their considered practices, Scandinavian design influencers and the beauty of Great Ocean Road.
Can you tell us about the Scout collection arriving in store? What were some of the references and inspirations behind these patterns, colours, yarns?
SCOUT is very much about pairing old textile traditions and techniques with modern design elements to create a fresh design-led range of quality, sustainable textiles. For our launch alpaca collection, we wanted to create a capsule range of ‘new’ design classics, lasting beyond fashion and trends. We were inspired by warm muted tones (grey, taupe, tangerine and mint) and a love of simplicity and minimal geometric patterns. In selecting alpaca as our yarn, we were won over by its superfine, luxurious quality and its hypoallergenic, eco-friendly properties.
Can you talk about your process in creating Scout throws and blankets?
Behind all beautiful textiles there is often a unique story about how they were made and the many people who contributed to their creation – and this holds very true for the SCOUT alpaca range. We develop the designs and concepts in-house, and then work closely with our supplier in Peru to realise the designs.
Each fibre in our throws and blankets starts its journey high in the Andes on the backs of baby alpaca, and then after sheering, travels down the mountains to be refined, spun and woven by a skilled weaving cooperative. Our throws are woven on jacquard looms, the only loom that can finely control every thread string to allow us to properly replicate our minimal but precise designs. Our bed blankets are woven on wide blanket looms in a sarga weave (which reveals itself as a subtle diagonal weave when viewed up close) to add an extra textured detail. The pieces are then hand-finished and ready to make their long journey back to us in Australia.
Why did you decide to use alpaca wool over any other yarns?
We knew from the outset that we wanted to create a very special capsule range – for our throws and blankets to be timeless in their design and versatility, and heirloom and enduring in their quality – and with this in mind, alpaca was the perfect yarn choice. Alpaca is a wonderful fibre – luxuriously soft, fine and lightweight – and a very adaptable fibre that is ‘temperature reactive’ so that it can keep the body cool in summer and warm in winter. Alpaca is also well known for its sustainable and eco-friendly properties. And while alpaca is admittedly one of the more expensive fibres to work with, anyone familiar with its quality will appreciate the difference and our preference to work with it.
What are some of your favourite Scandinavian designs/designers?
Scandinavian design has firmly become a reference point for good design, and is certainly one of the main influences in our own creative direction - simple functional design, minimal clean lines, warm colour and subtle pattern and texture. Favourite Scandinavian designers of ours include Norman Copenhagen, Muuto and Hay for furniture and home accessories, and, while quite different from our own aesthetic, bold textile brand Marimekko.
You live in Australia, what are your personal must-see-and-do tips for visitors?
For the last 3 years, I (SCOUT’s creative director) have split my time between Australia and Singapore, where my husband’s work role is currently based. The SCOUT warehouse and small team are based out of Brisbane, while our family are there and in Melbourne - so between our frequent visits to these two places, we get to enjoy many of the wonderful things Australia has to offer – warm weather, beaches and sunshine in Brisbane, and amazing food, coffee, culture and changing seasons in Melbourne.
With a country as vast as ours, there are so many special spots, but if I had to narrow it down, ‘must visit’ places would include Byron Bay and the surrounding hinterland; Noosa and the Glasshouse mountains; Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road; and of course, Sydney for its beauty and cosmopolitan lifestyle.
As for our current home in Singapore – it is a tiny island, and easy to explore in just a few days – and we’ve certainly found that it has many hidden gems, and a vibrant creative community, if you have time to venture away from the main tourist areas/attractions. The area of Tiong Bahru is one of these hidden gems – dating back to the 1930’s, it is filled with art deco era shophouses which now house cafes, bakeries, design stores and creative studios.
See our range of SCOUT throws and blankets instore and online [here]