Tie Game

Posted by Rob Walker on July 18, 2006
Posted Under: DIYism,Pleasing

White on Black Bowtie Gasmask
Originally uploaded by toybreaker.

Since quitting my last real job in 1999, I’ve had few occasions to wear a tie. I sort of miss it. Sort of. I used to spend a surprising amount of money on ties, particularly after I started working at one magazine where all the other men seemed to spend a lot of money on ties. It was weird, nobody ever talked about it, and maybe I’m the only who thought about it, but it seemed to me like the tie thing was really serious there. I was doing straight-up Zegna, Joseph Abboud, whatever it took to keep up.

Anyway, if I did have a reason to wear a tie these days, I’d consider one made by Detroit’s t0ybreaker, who I came upon by way of the Craft Magazine Flickr pool. I don’t know if I could really pull one of these off, but even if I just bought it and it stayed in the closet, I’d probably be happy.

I really think that somebody in the streetwear world ought to make ties, there’s such an opportunity there. I know that the tie is sort of the ultimate symbol of mainstream male apparel, but that’s exactly why it’s ripe for some kind of vaguely subversive treatment that’s the specialty of the urban-streetwear scene. There was a moment when I was actually trying to convince E that we should launch a line of ties to be sold at sneaker boutiques. Probably, we’ll never get around to that. But hey, if one of you streetwear cats wants to do a collabo with murketing.com, hit me up!


Uh, meanwhile, here’s t0ybreaker’s Flickr set of ties and other crafty/DIY-ish garments.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Good hipster that I am, I’ve been rather obsessed with skinny ties since around sophomore year of high school. And, yeah, my own aesthetic interest in them is based on an as-yet-uncommodified subversive use of the tie – whenever I get the opportunity, I love dressing both over (extraordinarily chic sport jackets, also thrift store vintage) and around (skinny ties) the normal dress codes of, e.g., nonprofits. They’re definitely something that I WOULD have spent far too much money on – except for the fact that you literally can’t buy them anymore at first-sale commercial outfits. Only thrift stores – and, despite their relative appeal among indie rockers, the skinny tie has never really had its Hush Puppie moment, so my entire collection of about two dozen skinny ties has ended up costing me somewhere under 40$. Not that I’m complaining – but of course, that doesn’t count the hours of scouring thrift stores (which, admittedly, I was doing anyways).

The only frustration I have is that they occupy a pretty narrow range of styles, within what’s possible for a skinny tie – basically, they probably constitute what was commercially available the last time skinny ties were sold widely, which I think would be about the mid- to late-1960s. So – Rob, when you get your urban-streetwear tie business off the ground, don’t forget the skinny ties.

This actually makes me think – ordering custom-made suits over the Internet from, e.g., Viet Nam has become, while not standard, at least reasonably common and easy. Why not ties? And why not something along the lines of, e.g., Spreadshirt.com?

Written By jkd on July 18th, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

Thanks so much for the link on your blog! I’m getting a site together for the ties now: http://www.cyberoptix.com/ – I hope to launch at least some part of it (besides the damn splash page) by the end of the week. I have them available in retail shops in and around Detroit and online, I’m hoping to get them more out into the world! I just got a shipment of new blanks in today and am making a new set of screens…so more new designs to follow soon.

(and of course you could pull it off! ;)

-Bethany Shorb

Written By toybreaker on July 19th, 2006 @ 12:59 pm

Hey there again, just letting you know that I have officially launched the site, and I’d be most happy to participate in any guinea-pig project you have in mind. Thanks again for looking!



Written By Bethany Shorb on August 1st, 2006 @ 12:08 pm

Rob: You should check out Sovereign Beck (www.sovereignbeck.com). And thanks for the heads up about toybreaker’s ties (excellent stuff, Bethany).

Written By braulio on August 25th, 2006 @ 11:33 am
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