No other scarf is quite like one by Sabina Savage. Savvy owners know they are in possession of a collectible heritage piece. Each scarf is hand-made, expertly printed and hand-edged by Italian artisans in Como, but the real beauty of a Sabina Savage scarf is that Sabina spends six to eight weeks drawing each square in its entirety.
‘I don’t repeat or mirror any elements,’ explains Sabina, ‘and every single corner has a different detail that tells a story.’ Sabina thoroughly researches these stories, which form the basis for each collection. ‘Every tiny detail in a border is taken from an artwork or inspired by something in the story,’ she says. ‘I spend hours in museums building up a solid knowledge of my theme.’ Her Autumn/Winter 2020 collection was based on Pompeii, and Sabina became fascinated by the artefacts and animals left behind after the eruption, such as caged birds and chained up guard dogs.
All Sabina’s designs feature animals, so Pompeii became a gift for her fertile imagination: ‘I started visualising the animals helping each other escape,’ she says. Sabina has also expanded her increasingly popular clothing line, made in Whitechapel. The pieces are individually cut and pieced together so the print flows across the seams. In 2020 Sabina starting offering silk velvet jackets and trousers alongside her silk clothing. They are effortlessly elegant and easy to wear, with simple, fluid shapes that allow the print to elevate the clothes to couture level. Many of Sabina’s stockists were affected by Covid-19, so she worked to improve her online shop with user-friendly filters and mood boards, meaning customers can identify the sources of every detail on every scarf.
Sabina also has a YouTube channel that highlights the scarf’s versatility, with tutorials showing how to tie one to its best advantage, whether as headscarf, summer top or winter wraparound. She also commissioned a new film for the Autumn/Winter collection. ‘It’s all about creating an online world for people to step into and find everything they need,’ Sabina explains. The result is that online sales have since a large growth since lockdown and continue to rise.
Sabina Savage also collaborated with court jewellers Cleave & Company to create a set of limited-edition pens and perfume ampoules in 18ct gold, silver and enamel, again displaying an ability to extend the brand’s creativity and offer its beautiful designs in a new medium. A further collaboration is planned with Johnstons of Elgin on an anniversary cashmere scarf.
The beauty of Sabina Savage is that it remains distinctly British while taking inspiration from all over the world. ‘Increasingly and particularly with Brexit, people are trying to support smaller brands close to home,’ says Sabina. ‘We’re a small, London- based brand, but much of our identity comes from absorbing the wider world and other exotic cultures into our designs. For example, in 2021 I’m looking to Burkina Faso for inspiration and I think our customers love that we’re British but with a global pan-cultural outlook.’