One of the reasons I like to go to the contemporary men’s trade shows like Capsule and Liberty is that while the major tie manufacturers and brands may not be there, the independents, innovators and start-ups are. These smaller designers, some not even dedicated to neckwear, tend to take risks. They also tend to view ties as fashion accessories, divorced from the dress codes of 20 and 30 years ago. Sales for them are not linked to suit sales; they are as likely to be worn with jeans or colorful five-pocket pants as with tailored clothing.
My first stop was Descendant of Thieves, a brand best known for slim-fitting sport shirts with clean designs but lots of detail. Ties ($70 retail) are a new category for them—the first delivery was for holiday 2013. All ties are two inches wide with square bottoms, all done in limited editions of 98 pieces. Grosgrain neckbands mirror the detail on the shirts and tails have button holes for attaching it to your shirt. The star of the first collection was the burlap, both natural and dyed. The spring collection includes some floral prints that also show up in shirts and reversible shorts.
The Dibi neckwear collection keeps growing. Daniel Bruce continues both the main collection that retails for $48 and the made in America collection for $95. “You have to set yourself apart; for me, it’s variation in styles,” Bruce tells me. “Some designs don’t move for a while, and then all of a sudden someone from Japan calls and buys them all.”
Camouflage is like the skull prints of 2007-2009—we may be getting tired of it, but it’s still selling like crazy. I liked Bruce’s 2.5-inch cotton/rayon camouflage ties ($48) because he’s getting deeper: digital camo patterns and German flecktarn camo patterns, both in multiple colorways.
I was excited to see Glendon Lambert’s new collection, and I wasn’t disappointed. Designer Glendon Breismeister’s “Birds on a Wire” tie from last year (see my Neckwear Notes column from August), a textural stripe made from rows of polyamide knots, was a show-stopper. Breismeister has kept up the pace with some raw silk stripes on silk jacquard (he’s wearing one in the photo above; $110 retail), an unlined brushed cotton twill stitched at the edges to mimic a lapel ($85 retail) and my favorite, a series of blown-up cotton toiles in four colors ($85 for ties, $80 for bows and $40 for pocket squares) — pictured below.
And of course the fantastic “Birds on a Wire” ties are still in collection ($120 retail), as are some others.
Breismeister’s retailers include Brooklyn Circus, Goose Barnacle and a handful of other great Brooklyn specialty stores, along with Khakis of Carmel in California and Portland Trading Company in Maine.