Etsy Schmetsy: The ties that bind

So, father’s day is coming up and you can’t figure out what to give the guy who has everything? There’s always the safe bet of a tie. (Actually, the hipster ties we’ve rounded up here are probably more suited for your beaux, or yourself, than your dad.)






Credits and lots of commentary after the jump.

A-D are by Bethany Shorb (Cyberoptix / Toybreaker), who pioneered the idea of silkscreening “ties that don’t suck” – and has done it more successfully than anyone I know of (she has over 5000 etsy sales, plus sells in shops and through her own website). She started out with mostly gothy-emo designs, usually silkscreened in black or onto black ties – AMedic is the first I ever saw. As time went on her subject matter got more varied, with some prettier/calmer designs, and her color schemes more interesting: more metallics, daring and subtle combinations: for instance B Peacock“  makes a beautiful tie. She has seen the opportunity of making hip ties for wedding parties (oftentimes a whole set of groomsmen are not really comfortable wearing ties, but when they have a pattern of engine parts on them somehow it’s ok) so she offers wedding packages, with a lot of customization: give her enough time and she’ll match your color. She even has a few designs that started out as custom work for someone’s wedding (1, 2). C is one of my favorite examples of a custom wedding set: “Oak” in custom colors and placement for groom and groomsmen.

Her newest, up-and-coming line, BSDLuxe, isn’t available yet, but debuted at POOL in February. These ties will come in at a higher price point, but use higher quality custom blanks and “more subtle palettes.” There are a few advance samples (1, 2) from this line available on her etsy shop, though the one shown here in D I found on flickr: I absolutely love its subversion of the classic stripe into a bandolier.

Cyberoptix can’t own the category forever, and the more competition she has, the more varied and interesting crafty ties will be out there. I like E “Black Bird” by Regeneration even better than Ms. Shorb’s take on this motif — slightly nicer art/cropping plus printed on a striped tie adds a layer of interest. Regeneration also prints on shirts, skirts, and so forth. F I also really like how jesswitaj handmakes her ties out of slubby, irregular dupioni silk, for a really pleasantly organic look and feel.

G lineology printed up some Obama ties during the campaign, but now that he’s president (and it’s sort of uncool to wear one’s president on one’s tie) she’s back to these lovely linear sketches on upcycled ties. H Speaking of upcycled, the reigning king of printed upcycled ties is Tymbal. He’s not on etsy but his work is handmade and really interesting: no two are even close to alike.

I This tone-on-tone damask with sklls from rokgear is printed with a combination of silkscreen and airbrush. J Finally, deezknots, whose other offerings include a super streetfashion-ready embroidered (!) tie, finishes off the set with this fantastically hardcore offering.

Rob Walker (who is so on-our-wavelength with the subject matter of his weekly NYT Magazine Consumed column week to week that we often joke he’s got our place bugged) wrote about Bethany Shorb’s Swine Flu tie this week, a few days after I started this roundup. Oh well. He’s got some good things to say, and one thing worth quoting, which I think would apply to not just hers but all the nontraditional, custom, crafty ties we’re featuring here.

Shorb is of course catering to forms of tie resentment — boredom with traditional patterns, the appeal of disturbing imagery disguised in a workplace-ready design, distaste for sartorial uniformity. But, as Hollander pointed out, subverting fashion often requires deeper participation than merely conforming would. Shorb’s customers tend to be artists, designers, creative professionals and others who are tuned in to the expressive possibilities of even the most conformist of garments. A design inspired by pandemic paranoia is one way for style rebels to reject the traditional necktie, with panache.

Full disclosure, I wear a tie voluntarily to work every Friday… and I approve of these ties.

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