"The secret to designing for men," says Clive Darby, "is to forget about the sex. I would never think, 'this is for a bloke, so I'm going to put a car on it.'"
The creative director of Rake applies this formula to all his pieces, he says, but never more so than with his latest project – an exclusive scarf and pocket handkerchief, £145 and £95 respectively, in order to raise money for cancer.
Having lost both of his parents to the disease, the cause lies close to Darby's heart.
"I didn't even have to think about whether to do this," he says, "it was an immediate yes. The key for me was the fabric – we had to find something that would immediately engage the senses."
In the end, he opted for modal, used by many of the top design houses for its lightness (similar to a cotton/silk mix) and dexterity (it is resistant to shrinkage).
Next up was design. Womenswear designer Stella McCartney designed two extra scarves for the same project and, says Darby, between them they wanted something that put warmth above gender. "I wanted a scarf that could be worn by both sexes, but it's true that my design was more male-specific."
As a fashion buyer for Browns in the Eighties, he recalls, paisley was particularly popular among men. "I think it is a pattern men feel at home in, then as now, so I designed it in a lovely faded blue, like a pair of old jeans, and framed it in orange for a bit of boldness and warmth."
All proceeds will go to King’s College Hospital Charity, and be ring-fenced for cancer patients.