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Monocle x Drakes Scarf: Interview with Editor-In-Chief Tyler Brûlé
STYLE
Monocle x Drakes Scarf: Interview with Editor-In-Chief Tyler Brûlé
by Tim Yu
on 07 October 2008
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Monocle—the magazine that covers international affairs, global business, culture and design—teamed up with Drakes London to create a new line of Merino wool scarves for the tenth and latest product collaboration for the Monocle Magazine Shop of luxurious goods.

Drakes is perhaps best known for their bespoke ties, and their elegantly woven scarves don't get enough attention. Produced in the heart of London and woven from the Scottish Borders’ finest wool, the scarves are simply designed, stylish, will keep you warm and are unashamedly British. They will be available early next week for £95 from the Monocle Magazine Shop.

Monocle only works with companies that share a passion for crafted goods of the highest quality. Whether it be a fragrance, bicycle, table or luggage, all items are specially engineered for their niche. Editor-In-Chief, Wallpaper founder and Financial Times columnist Tyler Brûlé has done a great job of shaping the multimedia Monocle brand and no detail is spared. Even the dimensions of the publication are well thought though. Bespoke in size, the magazine has a smaller footprint but at nearly 200 pages per issue, it is also a bit thicker than your average magazine, so it fits well in any bag and is easy on-the-go.

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We recently had the chance to ask Tyler Brûlé a few questions about Monocle and their new products.

Cool Hunting: What was the catalyst for this collection of Monocle branded products?
Tyler Brûlé: The starting point was our idea to do a series of bags with Porter in Japan. After a round of discussions they agreed to the concept and we offered up a brief and set to work. After about three rounds of revisions the first bags were ready and they've been on sale via Monocle.com, Dover Street Market and Beams Daikanyama since the launch. We've sold something in the region of 3,000 units at this point.

CH: How are these products an extension of the Monocle Brand?
TB: They're an extension of our brand by virtue of the fact that we feel our products fill a niche in our readers' lifestyles. Moreover, we're the co-architects on the creative side of all products, i.e., nothing is off the shelf.

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CH: How collaborative are the different projects? For example, did the Fritz Table go through many different drafts?
TB: The Fritz Hansen Table was an adaptation of an existing piece in their collection and with our associates in Copenhagen we worked on the solutions to slightly Monocle-ize it.

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CH: What criteria do you have when choosing someone to work with for these products?
TB: They need to be either iconic design statements or fill a functional niche for our audience. They should also contribute to our bottom line as well.

CH: Are the products you make dictated by who you work with? Or do you find people to work with to make the things you want?
TB: We work with the appropriate experts in their fields. For example, Comme Des Garçons wanted to do something with us but they weren't quite sure what and the fragrance seemed to make sense as it's a strong part of their brand's line-up.

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CH: What is up next? Or who are you working with next?
TB: We have a number of things on the go. A sixth bag with Porter, a series of scarves with Drakes, a candle with Comme Des Garçons, a travel blazer and swim trunks and we have about ten other items in the works.

CH: What's been your favorite favorite collaboration thus far?
TB: The Porter bags and the Comme Des Garçons fragrance as they're our biggest sellers.

CH: Anything you're really looking forward to making sometime in the future?
TB: I think we're doing everything we want at the moment.

CH: What do you think about the over saturation of collaboration products in general? How do you think it helps brands?
TB: I think it's always good to bring an extra set of eyes to the table and media brands, like Monocle, have a very different dialogue with their audience than luxury goods companies might.

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