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I remember when I was growing up and my mum would wrap a scarf round my neck on a cold morning before she sent me off to school. Whatever the weather I'd walk the half mile and meet up with my chums en route and we'd have competitions to see whose foggy breath was the thickest. There was no school run and no worries. A scarf was for winter and it kept me warm. When I was older and started riding motorbikes a scarf was a great way of stopping the freezing cold air from rushing down the front of my scruffy leather jacket, and it kept the bugs and dust out. To me a scarf was a practical means to an end.
Years later I was backpacking around and the myriad uses for a scarf became even more important to my comfort. To be fair it was more of a shawl at this point and used to double as a blanket, pillow, sarong, face mask, towel, sleeping sheet and many other things. Little did I realise how this multi purpose rectangle of fabric would change my life and how my understanding of its history and cultural significance would deepen.
I now know my warp from my weft, my ikat from my jaquard, my satin from my twill and my mixed yarn from my plain yarn. I now know to always carry a cigarette lighter with me when travelling in India and looking at products because it is only by burning a few strands of tassel and studying the smell, the ash colour and the residue that you will know the truth of what you are looking at. I know it's hard to believe but some people will try to cheat you!!!!!!! I have even been blatantly lied to in Govt run emporiums.
So now the little school kid with his warm scarf and foggy breath has grown up, in some ways. A scarf is no longer just that warm thing round my neck. It's a whole way of life. Now we design scarves, we have a custom manufacturing service which is growing rapidly, we have an intimate understanding of how our scarves are made and the community that makes them.We live and breath scarves and over the festive trading period we almost drown in them.
The strange thing about life is the uncertaintity that drives it forward. I certainly never planned to sell scarves. In my life I've been a salesman, waiter, kitchen porter, taxi driver, contract tomato picker, fisherman, yoga teacher, postman, storeman and worked in a motorcycle shop. I have also made rubber riding boots on a kibbutz in the Golan Heights, built greenhouses in Crete and worked behind bars in Oxford. So scarves were never on the horizon, until I got to the horizon. Of course I'm sure that somewhere over the horizon just waiting for me is another of lifes uncertainties and I will get flung off on another obscure tangent. That is the beauty of life.
Right now though, right this minute I am York Scarves and all year long our website is out there. Scarves are no longer simply an aid to keeping warm, they are a way of decorating yourself and expressing your personality. ............The hard part for us is guessing how everyone will want to express themselves but I think we are getting quite good at this. After all we have had plenty of practise. Anyway below are some of our guesses for the coming season.