A few months ago, Elliott Rampley of Rampley and Co approached me to see if I’d be willing to review one of their pocket squares. I was already aware of the brand as some friends owned some of their pocket squares and I liked their designs, so I’ve been road-testing one of their squares (The Fall of Phaeton) for a couple of months now.
The most obvious first point of difference with Rampley and Co are their designs. Where most other makers of pocket squares create geometric patterns, Rampley and Co have partnered with a range of British museums (including the Tate, The National Gallery and Museum of London) to reproduce a range of famous artworks, printed on the silk squares. The only other maker I know of who produces squares with a similarly ornate aesthetic is Rubinacci.
From speaking with Elliott and from my own observations, quality in both the raw product and manufacturing process has been the major focus. They manufacture in Macclesfield, the home of English ties and squares for the last couple of hundred years. Most quality English makers you know of will make their ties and squares here. The silk in my square is high quality. It’s light and soft but heavy enough to support its own weight (so it won’t droop over the pocket), with none of the stiffness which cheaper squares usually have, which is typically the result of gums from the silk failing to be removed properly when the raw silk is being cleaned and prepared. Additionally, the quality of the print itself is impressive, with the image transferring well to the reverse side. With most pocket squares, one side is the show side, with the reverse side appearing dusty and washed out. That’s minimal in this instance and, again, speaks to a quality dying process and good silk.
The hems have been hand-rolled and the quality here is excellent. I compared it alongside an Hermes scarf of my wife’s and there’s no difference in the quality of the handwork and finishing. I’d also rate it a shade ahead of Drake’s, although that’s only discernible when looking very closely.
One piece of advice I’d give to anyone interested in buying their own square from Rampley and Co, at least from a practical point of view, is not to base your decision exclusively on which picture you like most. As with most pocket squares, once the square is folded, the image disappears and you’re left with some pattern and mostly colour. Focusing on the border pattern and colours is the most important thing, as that’s what will be seen once you fold and use the square, so the border, more than the colours in the image itself, needs to work with the jacket and outfit you’re wearing it with. That said, you can fold a square so the border is less prominent (see below) but you’re still only going to see colour, not an image.
As an example, I chose the square I did because I knew its border meant I would be able to wear it with and to have it highlight both creme and brown trousers, a dark mottled green cashmere jacket I have from Al Bazar and my navy sport coat (everything works with that). There were some squares whose images I really liked, but knew that some of the colours within them were colours I rarely ever wear (such as red). So it pays to think about colours you typically like to wear and choose accordingly. That said, given their fairly extensive range it’s easy to find an image you like along with colours which go with the clothes you wear.
In addition to the unique designs of their pocket squares, Rampley and Co now offer braces, socks, ties and will soon offer jacket linings. Their bespoke range is also attracting a lot of attention, with customers able to have custom images or designs printed onto pocket squares, which is a nice idea. I commissioned a painting for when I proposed and being able to use the image of that painting in a pocket square would be something I’d like to do at some point.
All in all, a unique idea (artwork on pocket squares) with a focus on the British hallmarks of quality and craftsmanship, which has been well executed. Expensive, yes, but if you’re not on a budget, then the cost is justified by the uniqueness and quality.