5 Key Reasons our Pocket Squares were Named the ‘Best in the World’

By Elliott Rampley, Co-Founder

In 2016 we were described by the Huffington Post as having ‘probably the best pocket squares in the world’. In the below article I’ve explained the 5 key reasons behind our pocket squares being so exceptional and so highly regarded around the world.

We create remarkable accessories through high quality design, fabric and craftsmanship.

We set up the company out of a desire to find something a little different in the market. I’ve always worn pocket squares and loved them as an accessory but found it amazing that women’s scarves have had stunning patterns and designs ever since Hermés in the 1930s and yet nobody was really doing the same with the male equivalent. Most of the retailers I was trying had the same old paisley, polka dot and flat colour but I was looking for something a little different.

From the outset we decided we wanted all of our pocket squares to tell a story and have that point of differentiation. We launched in partnership with the Tate in London and have since partnered with the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the Museum of London, English Heritage, the V&A and the British Museum as well as launching ties, socks and braces.

Our commitment to quality is a strong point of difference. There are lots of brands at a lower price point but we know that our product is absolutely the best it can be. Unlike most brands, we also stay away from having two main seasonal collections and concentrate on creating beautiful prints of what is inspiring us at that particular moment. We don’t tend to follow colour themes either, we just create designs we love and our customers like this approach. 

Upon launch we were keen to keep as much of the manufacturing as possible based in England and our design and creative process is driven by this. We also draw inspiration from other English brands and the institutions we’re working with. We’ve worked on projects with partners on Savile Row and they're a strong inspiration for where we want to take Rampley & Co. Below I’ve outlined our manufacturing process for our pocket squares and the 5 key areas that make them exceptional.

At Rampley & Co our aim is to create pocket squares that are more interesting than the classic paisley, polka dots and flat colours you see with most brands. A lot of the inspiration behind our ranges is taken from art, history and architecture.

Our core focus is to produce a product that is not only beautiful and unique, but one that tells a story. This could be of the painting itself or the artist/designer behind the work. Our William Swainson Collection, for example, is based on sketches by a 19th century ornithologist who produced some truly beautiful images of birds. Similarly, each of our Fine Art and National Gallery Collections has a remarkable back story. 

All our squares are designed in London and we ensure that every item is as detailed as the last. We also take time to perfect the borders and colour palettes to ensure it provides a variety of fold opportunities in the pocket.

As for production, the town of Macclesfield in the UK is globally renowned for the quality of their silk printing. We use a renowned mill, whose history and pattern books dating back hundreds of years give you a real sense of tradition and craftsmanship.

We digitally print most of our squares as this is the only way to produce the level of detail required when reproducing something such as a piece of fine art. We then get all our squares hand rolled. We spent the first couple of years ensuring that we have the best possible product available and we try to produce as much as possible in the UK.

As well as using traditional pocket square materials such as silk, we also wanted to look into ways of utilising different fabrics and textures while keeping the focus on British heritage. 

This led to the creation of our Harris Tweed collection, where we reworked a traditional British material to breathe new life into the pocket square and create something that perfectly compliments a tweed jacket. For this product we’ve also picked out a colour from within the weave and chosen to overlock the edges in a matching tone. This process is all done in Britain and we feel it provides a perfect contrasting edge that jumps from the pocket.

Personally, I believe a pocket square is an absolute essential and the key to lifting an outfit. Men’s fashion can be plain and quite monotone when it comes to smart attire and jackets. The pocket square adds that little flourish that will absolutely get you noticed. Regardless of whether people know about Rampley & Co, I always get asked about my squares and people always point it out. It adds an intrigue factor that you wouldn’t get with a tie or socks. It's also incredibly versatile and can be worn in any situation from a day at the office to a wedding or a casual outfit. 

5 key reasons our pocket squares are exceptional:

  • Size
  • Hemming
  • Material
  • Design
  • Bespoke

We create the majority of our squares and certainly all our silk squares at 42x42cm. You get less per metre of cloth and so they cost more to manufacture, but we felt this was the perfect size to prevent slippage in your pocket while maintaining shape and not feeling too bulky.

The hand rolled edges are key for us. It’s the best way to finish a pocket square for a variety of reasons but the key ones are for both visual effect and structure. Rolling by hand is the only way to get a really nice clean plump finish on the edge. This gives a nice depth to the edges as well as looking more striking when the edges are showing from the square. It’s a much more expensive process than machine rolling but by using a machine you’re left with a flat edge and don’t get the same luxurious feel. 

Rolled edges also add more structure to your square which will help avoid the aforementioned slippage. It will also help keep the corners of your pointed folds nice and crisp when poking out of the pocket.

The quality of material that you use is incredibly important and you can often tell when a pocket square is produced from a cheaper fibre. Our silk is the highest grade we could procure and we spent a lot of time testing different weights to ensure it wasn’t too bulky in the pocket and would hold it’s shape when folded. Plus, we needed to ensure that when printing the paintings we could get a perfectly clear image transferred onto the silk while ensuring that the bleed of the ink means you get almost a carbon copy on the reverse.

We do also produce squares in wool-silk and modal-cashmere blends as well as the aforementioned silk and Harris Tweed. You’re less likely to see a heavier woollen square in the summer but I think if you have a nice colour combination and it suits the jacket then you should absolutely go for it.

We’ve always tried to ensure that any squares we design can be worn all year around and it’s great to see the huge variety of outfits, locations and climates they get worn in. I often see people walking around London or at the international shows in the midst of the summer heat wearing a three piece suit and so can’t see that wearing a more woollen pocket square in that environment is any more strange!

Design is very important to us and so we ensure all our pocket squares tell a story while providing something truly unique for your pocket. Being able to show those around you a print of a Rubens or Turner feels like a real mark of quality when compared to a lot of the standard polka dot and repeat patterns on the market today.

Design is very important to us and so we ensure all our pocket squares tell a story while providing something truly unique for your pocket. Being able to show those around you a print of a Rubens or Turner feels like a real mark of quality when compared to a lot of the standard polka dot and repeat patterns on the market today.

In terms of chief influences, it has certainly been art and history to date but when selecting an image/design for a pocket square it will depend on whether we’re working with a particular partner to design a collection or whether we’re creating something ourselves.

When starting with The National Gallery for example, we worked closely with their team to choose three paintings from their substantial collection of some of the finest artworks in the world. The paintings had to first and foremost suit the medium on which they were to be presented. We then slowly identified those we wanted based on colour blends and the ability to work within a square crop.

The next stage was to design unique borders for each square, each inspired by the painting it was chosen to go with. These utilised individual details seen in the work such as the detailing on an arch or the colour of a piece of clothing. 

Once designs were finalised we worked with their expert colourist to ensure that the sampling process gave us the closest possible match to the original painting before producing our finished product. This is a difficult task when printing complicated images with multiple colour blends onto silk but fully worth it when presented at the end with a stunning hand rolled silk pocket square featuring an absolutely stunning piece of art. 

Adherence to the above rules and maintaining our quality certainly stands us in good stead. However, I think the real USP is our design and the vast archive of historical prints we’ve got licensing agreements in place to use. Having partners such as the National Gallery and V&A allows us to create a truly unique product.  

5. OUR BESPOKE PRODUCTS – Exceptional Enhancements

One of the most popular services requested from us, often for a wedding or special occasion, is to offer something truly bespoke.

We allow for any image of the customer's choosing to be printed on a square as well as hand embroidered monogramming. We can also arrange for a pocket square or scarf to be framed. This seems to be becoming a lot more popular as people view these as pieces of art in themselves. Sometimes we'll also have clients bring us fabrics they've found to be used for a handmade tie. 

In the instance of a wedding, we'll often take an original image close to the groom’s heart to print onto a material of their choice. Silk is often the chosen fabric for this occasion. We even get asked for details such as the date of the wedding hand embroidered onto the corner of the square.

It’s all about providing something so special and unique that the wedding party wants to hold onto it for years to come. It's a memento of the occasion, but we even find clients continuing to use them on a day to day basis. What better way to get your best man and groomsmen to remember the day than to have matching bespoke squares made for each of them with hand embroidered monogramming?