[Contest is closed–Winners will be contacted and then first names and last initial posted here.]
As odd as it may seem, we are living in a Golden Age of necktie manufacturing. And it’s a phenomenon largely driven from the bottom up. Yes, big luxury tie makers like Drake’s, Rubinacci, Marinella, and Nicky are still the big boys on the block, but small niche makers have sprung up over the past few years. Many of these were started by men who weren’t finding the exact ties they wanted so they decided to make them. It is, then, a movement sparked by connoisseurship.
Paradoxically, this has come during a time when necktie wearing is declining among most. One iGent wag noted recently that the number of artisanal tie sellers was now officially greater than the number of tie wearers, too true not to laugh. But many are now wearing ties because they want to, not because they have to. Therefore they’re much pickier about what ties they do wear, and thus spend their money on.
Into this fray steps a new line of small batch neckties from Rick’s of Kansas City. Rick’s is a family business on the Kansas side of the line that has specialized in overstocks from top men’s makers. (I once saw an Oxxford suit on their racks that had been made for then Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.) During my time living in Kansas City, I used Rick’s as my go-to for alterations, and all too often left with some small item I didn’t need at all, but was too good to pass up. Rick’s was also the destination for the entire remaining stock of luxury New York retailer Venanzi when the store was liquidated. I think there’s still some Venanzi stock lurking at the store. I won’t comment about how many Venanzi labels are in my own closet.
Sadly, Rick himself passed away a couple of years ago, but his son Jeff has taken over operations with a more ambitious vision for the store. This new line of store label neckwear is part of that. Using relationships with top American makers developed over the years, Jeff has access to high quality deadstock fabric for these ties. Because the amount of fabric is limited, they are made in small batches. Only a handful of each tie exists, and they can’t be remade.
I was excited by the project, and Jeff was kind enough to send some samples for review (and a couple to give away to you). The ties are American made with quality construction techniques. Each tie is constructed with interior slip stitch for proper flexibility and closed with bar tacks. The self-keeper is sewn into the tie seam as it ought to be. In addition to the well chosen fabric, the ties also have a narrower–but not overly narrow–width. They measure in at 3 1/8″ or a smidge more, depending on the folding when made. That’s a business acceptable width, while still giving a nod to a more contemporary feel.
And I like very much that Jeff has chosen a number of seasonal fabrics. While the standard tie is silk, it’s nice to reach for a wool tie in fall and winter and linen in summer.
With the artisanal tie boom also comes high prices. But one of the nice features of Rick’s Limited Deadstock Collection is the reasonable price. At $75 they are less than a Brooks Brothers tie with more interesting fabrics and superior details. You also get the added bonus that the other guy at work won’t have the exact same tie while you support a small, family owned business.
Thanks to Jeff’s generosity, I’m giving away the two neckties below. I will select two names from the entries. The first name selected can select which tie he prefers, the second name will receive the other. I have available a wool-silk blend (right) and, in a preview of the spring-summer ties to come, an all linen tie (left).
Here’s how to enter. Each thing you do will count as an entry and increase your odds of winning. The entry period will last through midnight on Monday, November 25.
- “Like” the Pinstripe Pulpit page on Facebook
- Follow @PinstripePulpit on Twitter
- Tweet the following on your Twitter account (just copy & paste): I entered to win a free tie by @RicksKansasCity from @pinstripepulpit. Go here to enter: http://wp.me/p1D6Zq-kN