A few years ago, in the dog days of summer, I attended a friends’ wedding on the beautiful Croatian coast. The bride was gorgeous and blushing, and the groom was dapper in his dark suit paired with a lilac tie. Quite venue-appropriate, I thought, given that Croatia is the birthplace of this ubiquitous male accessory. Today’s post is all about tying those knots.
In the mid-1600s, Croatian mercenaries enlisted in the French King’s army were known for wearing a traditional kerchief around their necks tied in an unusual way, ‘à la croate’, which soon became ‘cravat’, the forerunner of present-day tie.
By mid-19th century neckwear for men became de rigueur across Europe, and its varieties included cravats, stocks, neckties, bow ties and Ascot ties. Over the years, ties have become synonymous not only with corporate attire, but also with just about anything else – from an exclusive club membership to a symbol of oppression.
By the turn of the 21st century, the bow tie’s popularity has waned significantly.”Is the bow tie an endangered species these days?”, I recently asked a Scandinavian colleague of mine whose flamboyant bow ties have piqued my curiosity ever since I met him. “And how did your love affair with them begin?”
“I find bow ties a little more personal than neckties – a little less ‘uniformed’, I guess. But these days you could easily be mistaken for a waiter at a party if you are wearing one! There are very few good quality bow ties left – you have to continuously scour the shops for a good find. I love maritime motifs, for example, but it is increasingly hard to find nice patterns. For every 100 neckties, there might just be one bow tie that’ll do,” he told me.
Ashley N. Dedin is a Nevada-based designer who is helping save the bow tie from extinction in a sustainable way. She began making her own clothing from deconstructed thrift store finds while still in high school. Today, she creates custom-made bow ties using recycled materials – often for weddings and other special occasions.
Her brand, AENDEE, was born of a passion for giving new life to old materials. From fabric to tie lining & notions – the goal is to reclaim materials and maximize their use in new high quality goods that you can wear with pride, says Dedin. An inspiring — and sustainable — mission indeed.
Happy wedding anniversary to my dearest Ana and Goran, and best of luck to all those tying that important knot!