Over the past few years, The Rake has had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with two titans of their respective industries: legendary shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser and tattoo artist extraordinaire Mo Coppoletta. The first two projects were the sartorial Mega-Square and the Furious Eagle pocket square – both of which were hugely successful. Later this month The Rake will launch the third piece of this ongoing partnership – a collection of three denim shirts, each printed with intricate artwork by Coppoletta.
The whole collaboration came about during a conversation as to how tattoo and motorcycle culture was becoming entwined with the sartorial world, says Turnbull’s Head of Design Dean Gomilsek-Cole. “It made sense for the next collaboration to be in the area of shirts, as we are renowned for our skills in this area and we had plenty of ideas left over from our initial discussions. Mo and I had been looking at many different inspirations from industrial shipyards to art deco and old propaganda posters, and if you look closely at the design you will see many of these ideas hidden within Mo’s artwork.”
The three patterns – the Furious Eagle, the Mega-Square and the design for these shirts – have a theme that connects them, says Coppoletta, which is a background of Victorian-inspired docks and factories. The choice of using denim with the new collaboration gave Coppoletta an additional element to work into the design. “Denim naturally associates itself with work and labour; docklands, miners – all of that world. I wanted to continue with that industrial inspiration, with a bit of a nod to the Futurism of the 1920s and ‘30s.”
For Gomilsek-Cole, selecting the perfect denim was key to making the collaboration work. “We used a higher end variation of denim that uses two-fold 120s yarn, which is unusual to find in denim, to give the shirt a robust yet elegant feel.” Gomilsek-Cole says an early decision was to deliver the shirts unwashed to allow the wearer to decide how quickly they wanted the cloth to wash down and reveal the design of the artwork. “Once worn in, the shirts will have a superior softness but will remain strong due to the longer-staple yarn cotton we used to weave the cloth.”