Living Artwork: T&A & Mo Coppoletta for The Rake
As the exclusive collection with Mo Coppoletta and The Rake launches, we discuss the story and inspiration behind the design.
“It is the unstable nature of denim – the fact that it fades, shows signs of age and wear, tells the story of your interaction with it, and becomes a physical repository for your memories – that makes it so fascinating as a material,” says our head of design, Dean Gomilsek-Cole, which is perhaps why denim never goes out of style. Denim was worn originally by labourers due to its durability and practical use, whilst evolving through the years to become the staple piece in every wardrobe.
Denim is the key component in this collaboration for Mo Coppoletta, owner of The Family Business tattoo salon in Exmouth Market. Inspired by Victorian docks and factories, Coppoletta explains, “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, it was important he found the perfect denim. “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.” An early decision was to deliver the shirts unwashed to allow the wearer the ownership of 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.”
The first of the three shirts in this collection is a pleated-front dress shirt. Giving denim an unusually elegant touch, the pleated-front adds a further dimension to showcase Coppoletta’s intricate designs. The shirt, seen here, was styled by The Rake with our Navy Velvet Smoking Jacket and bow tie, for a strikingly distinctive look.
The second variation showcases our much-heralded resort collar, known as the ‘Rockland’. This 1950s-style short-sleeved shirt is the casual option out of the trio. “It’s a style that is totally unique to Turnbull & Asser and the perfect demonstration of the casual elegant ‘sports chic’ look that has become one of the most dominant categories in modern menswear.” says Gomilsek-Cole.
The final shirt in this collection features our classic T&A collar and signature three-button cuff, dubbed by our head of design as ‘The Everyman Option’. The shirt is slightly slimmer fitting and complements a chocolate brown double-breasted jacket and moleskin trousers.
“The original artwork - the details, the creativity and expressiveness just blew us away. What I love about it is that it totally usurps your expectations of what a tattoo artist would create. Mo’s artwork is a little bit obscured at first because of the deep indigo of the shirts. But the more you wear them, the more the design is revealed to you. And I find this kind of interaction with these shirts to be incredibly charming, because the customer gets to see more and more revealed to him as the years pass.”
The limited edition T&A & Mo Coppoletta shirts are available now.