Robert Rose

Robert Rose creates beautiful scarves under his Rose and Rose label. The designer talks to Katy Salter about whizzing around London on his Vespa and seeking inspiration for his prints on Clerkenwell’s cobbled streets…

NAME: Robert Rose
JOB: Accessories Designer
LOCATION: Bowling Green Lane

Why did you choose Clerkenwell for your studio?
I’ve been in Clerkenwell since I first started Rose & Rose, over two years ago. Having spent years in the West End with my previous company, I was attracted to the area’s creative energy and the traditional character of London that the streets retain. I like the fact that we share Bowling Green Lane with architects, design and media companies. There is a real buzz of originality about the place.

What’s special about your space on Bowling Green Lane?
The studio is full of interesting bits and bobs collected over the years, and being on the third floor, there is a great little roof garden with panoramic views of the city – I can look out and see St Paul’s, The Shard and The London Eye. There are just three of us working there, so the atmosphere is pretty relaxed and laid-back.

What’s a typical working day for you?
Actually, no day is the same for me, which is a real joy. I live in Canonbury, so after a morning coffee and breakfast at home I head into the office on my Vespa, which I love – it really is the best way to get around town. If I don’t have meetings in the afternoon, I may head home to work on design, which is always an on-going process.

‘My designs are inspired by art, architecture… and just walking around Clerkenwell’

What inspiration do you find in the area and how does this feed itself into your designs?
Much of my design is inspired by art and architecture, and just walking around Clerkenwell – be it Smithfield or Leather Lane, I often come across something or someone new. I like the way the traditional London streets act as the backdrop to this exciting creative hub that the area has become – the dialogue between old and new has certainly been a strong trend in my latest collection.

Can you talk us through your process from initial designs to finished product?
The design process revolves around a few key themes each season, as I want each collection to be trend-driven and fashion-focused. The initial idea can come from anywhere – maybe the feeling of a film that I have seen, or a great print from somewhere around the world, which I always try to do something a bit different with, be it embellishments or hand-finished detailing, so that each scarf tells a story. The initial design process doesn’t take too long, but I then spend the next few months making sure everything comes together exactly how I envisaged it . We have the scarves made around the world, depending on the fabric base and technique required – for example, we use super-soft Mongolian cashmere, woollen hand-knits from Ireland and hand-blocked prints from India.

Your scarves are now stocked all over the world – what does that mean to you when you’re sitting in your office in Clerkenwell?
It’s a great feeling. London is a fantastic city, I have lived here all my life, and given that we are still a relatively new, small company, it is wonderful to think that there are people from all over the world wearing and enjoying our scarves.

Where in the area do you like to hang out?
Twenty Two to Twenty Six is always an interesting and friendly place to grab an espresso, and I do like the occasional meeting over breakfast in The Clerkenwell Kitchen. I also like The Rokeby Gallery on Hatton Wall, and visiting the occasional exhibition in the Zetter Hotel, followed by cocktails in the Zetter Townhouse.

Rose and Rose scarves are stocked at Start in Hoxton, Anthropologie on Regent Street and The Cross in Notting Hill among others.