Sophy Hollington channels the occult through Tarot card illustrations for Chimi's new sunglasses

British artist Sophy Hollington, known for her lino-cut prints referencing folklore and alchemy, has collaborated with the sunglasses brand for its new summer line.

26 July 2021

Based on her card deck The Autonomic Tarot – released by Rough Trade books in 2018 in collaboration with writer David Keenan – Sophy Hollington has collaborated with Stockholm-based eyewear brand Chimi for its new Arcana line, the latest release under its Lab series. Through the arduous and detailed lino-cut process of her relief designs, chubby yet minimalist type adorns the packaging of the new line. Hollington aimed to channel the occultism and spirituality of Tarot across her illustrations to accompany each of the three sunglasses frames based on figures from the Major Arcana deck: “The High Priestess”, “The Fool”, and “The Magician”.

Hollington took inspiration from occultist Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot deck when designing The Autonomic Tarot. Hollington tells us that The Autonomic Tarot is “very different [to Crowley's deck] in terms of composition” but there was “something about the tension in Thoth and the alchemical symbolism” that she fed into her own designs.

To move more in line with the brand’s identity, Hollington adapted her usual style, “moving away from the aggressive darkness that [The Autonomic Tarot] has,” she explains. Because of the nature of the product, Hollington says that she wanted to “let people use their imagination” instead of being too “on the nose” with her designs.


Sophy Hollington: The High Priestess, red (Copyright © CHIMI)

The artist explains how she reimagined the characters of the cards “in a way that felt lighter and more playful, with a colour palette that resonated with Chimi”. Each card, describes Hollington, has their own characteristics; whilst The Fool represents “blissful naivety”, The High Priestess “is powerful and sensual”, whereas The Magician is the “artist alchemist” using only their “skills and intellect” to conjure.

Each frame looks to represent its namesake. The Magician takes on a cunning angular form, whilst The High Priestess gives a fittingly alluring impression. The Fool takes the form of a bubbly, more jovial frame.

Hollington, whose work usually depicts folkloric scenes, bounced her designs off of the meaning of Arcana — “secrets or mysteries”— which define the two card sets within a Tarot deck. The frames come in three colours; earthy tones of black, red and green seem to evoke the natural elements which typically define alchemy and folklore. Hollington used these colours to inform the newly adapted Tarot card illustrations for Chimi.

As she enjoyed the “fun and open” nature of the brief, Hollington claims that she looks forward to more fashion design collaborations in the future as, according to the artist, they lend themselves to “ambient communication”. The glasses will be on sale for a limited time online and in-store.


Sophy Hollington: The High Priestess (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)


Sophy Hollington: The Magician (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)


Sophy Hollington: The Fool (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)


Sophy Hollington: CHIMI packaging (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)


Sophy Hollington: The Fool, green (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)


Sophy Hollington: The Magician, black (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)

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Sophy Hollington: Tarot Pack (Copyright © Chimi, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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