British Esquire editor Alex Bilmes argued in his Essay “The Tie Lie” that for most business occasions, the colour and style you can choose for suits, shirts and even shoes are quite limited, and “one white business shirt looks not entirely dissimilar from another.” Therefore, “ties are really where the mid-ranking executive, the urban professional, gets to show a glimpse of taste, of personal style, of panache.”
For this Autumn/Winter season, we are introducing Mr. Nicolas Schmitt’s Old Bertie hand-made ties, with very fun and colourful offerings. Ahead of the launch, the designer Nicolas Schmitt talks about how he started this journey for tie-making and his creative process for this season’s products.
“For a very long time, I’ve been fascinated by artisanal and hand-crafted products. There is a sense of gratification for starting something from the scratch and finishing it all with your two hands. For me, that is an achievement. What is even more gratifying is when you see someone wear your product and appreciate what you made. It is also what makes me want to continue doing this.”
/THE ‘HAND ROLL’ HEM
“I spent a lot of time to learn how to do the hand-rolled hem. I wanted the hem of the ties to be hand-rolled in a round shape, not in a square and flat way because for me it looks nicer. Hand-rolled hems are harder to make and more time-consuming. When I first started making ties, it took me about 2 hours just to make the hand roll. There are about 1,20 meters in length to hand roll on each tie.”
“I wanted to find what I think is the right balance for the knot. That was probably my biggest obsession. I especially didn’t want the knot to be too small or too big. I also wanted a light tie, something that could give you a very soft feeling when you wear it. And not too rigid or too formal in terms of the style.”
“It took me a lot of time because it’s about finding the right balance between the pattern and the weight of the silk. It’s also important to determine the use of interlining. Overall, interlining gives a nice consistency to the knot, helps give a nice dimple and avoid the silk to wrinkle too much after wearing the tie a full day.”
All ties are made of 100% silk, UK imported.
“I think there is a lot of myth surrounding ties. 3 folds, 5 folds, 7 folds, 15 folds or more. The number of folds doesn’t matter that much. I think the weight of your fabric is much more important that the number of folds.”
“Sometimes I draw inspiration from movies, old pictures, some archive pattern collections. For this collection, it’s a bit random, because I wanted to test a lot of different things. There are some very classic patterns but also some more special patterns. I was specifically thinking about breaking the symmetry of classic patterns to offer a less structured feeling. I think it contributes somehow to make the tie a bit more playful and less formal.”
Nicolas was a guest on our Suit Geek column for this month, read here for his interview: