Begg x Co + QUEERCIRCLE
Celebrating 50 years of Pride in the UK
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride march, Begg x Co has once again teamed up with LGBTQ+ organisation QUEERCIRCLE, this time on a capsule collection of lightweight summer scarves.
Launching to coincide with the opening of the new QUEERCIRCLE space in London, proceeds from this unique partnership will support the organisation’s ambitious LGBTQ+ arts, culture and social action programmes.
Designed in collaboration with British artist, Jakob Rowlinson, the limited edition, handkerchief-style scarves depict a sprawling rosebush climbing up a wooden trellis in an imaginary queer garden. Instead of roses however, this plant sprouts miniature hands that wave and signal to one another in a variety of suggestive shapes and movements.
As part of our ongoing partnership with LGBTQ+ organisation QUEERCIRCLE, we commissioned photographer Jeff Hahn to capture a series of portraits of queer artists and activists wearing our ‘Touch Me’ scarf, designed in collaboration with Jakob Rowlinson - each in their own inimitable style.
Alongside the images, taken outside the new QUEERCIRCLE space in the Greenwich Design District, London, we sat down with each of the portrait sitters to find out about their individual experiences, their creative processes and activism, and what Pride means to them.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK, proceeds from the sale of the ‘Touch Me’ collection will go to support QUEERCIRCLE's ambitions arts, culture and social action programme.
Touch Me Inspiration
‘When formulating this design I was thinking about coding and the secret symbols that may have been used by queer people in history’ says Rowlinson. ‘I considered how, by certain mannerisms, aspects of our identity have often been displayed via dextrous movements. As this design is shaped like a handkerchief, I was also mindful of the "hanky code"; a historical means by which gay men placed handkerchiefs in different pockets to signal their desires.’ The artwork, entitled ‘Touch Me’, is printed onto ultrafine cashmere in three different colour pathways before being finished with hand-rolled hems.
QUEERCIRCLE is an LGBTQ+ led charity working at the intersection of arts, culture and social action. In June 2022, QUEERCIRCLE opened a new permanent home for LGBTQ+ artists and safe space for the community in the Greenwich Design District. Recognising the disappearance of artist studios and the closure of over 50% of dedicated LGBTQ+ spaces in London in the past decade, QUEERCIRCLE will support the LGBTQ+ community through an annual programme of physical and digital exhibition commissions, participatory artist residencies and a free public programme designed to strengthen links between arts, culture, health and wellbeing.
Jakob Rowlinson graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2017 with an MA in Sculpture and has since presented solo exhibitions at Clearview in London, Jönköping in Sweden and Quench Gallery in Margate. Contemplating centuries of coding within LGBTQ+ communities is a central theme in Rowlinson’s work which has been described by i-D as ‘a queerness’ in itself, ‘an ongoing reinterpretation and subversion of a visual language we are all aware of in different ways.’ Rowlinson is currently exhibiting as part of OOF Gallery’s Summer Season 2022.