A lot of time is spent by neck wear designers in either weaving or printing fabrics which look great when formed into a bow tie, tie, ascot or scarf. The considerations that are often weighing down on the product designer will be such issues as how will the it feel in the hand, how will the design be repeated across the fabric, will this design look better woven or printed, for what application is this product being made, will this fabric be worked in conjunction with another fabric, what colours will best suit this design and who is my target audience.
For a large company like Zegna, Ralph Lauren or Brioni this will mean having to take into account their existing customer base, what people expect from their brand, what they wish to project moving forward and what discoveries they've made since their last production of silk. It's not an easy job. Not in the slightest. If you screw up you are lumbered with stock which might never sell. If you do well you might under produce and miss out on sales.
Companies like ours benefit from not having such a large customer base. We get to enjoy designs already made by the looms, like the woven English jacquard below, as well as design our own limited edition silk when we feel comfortable with a design. This means we don't have quite the seasonal exposure that some of our larger competitors suffer from and it gives us a creative leeway to experiment with very unusual silk designs which perhaps are not commercially viable to the broader menswear audience.
One of the first things that I like to do when designing a new silk is to put an existing silk under the magnifying glass as I have done so below. It reminds you, especially in the realm of woven jacquards, what are the limitations that you are constrained to by the looms warp and weft threads.
The magnifying glass below shows 1 square centimetre of silk so you can see down to the millimetre how much definition you can achieve with the design, which in the silk below forms part of a broader paisley.
The navy satin warp, which you can see between the weft threads shows a dense rich satin which, as you can imagine, forms a wonderful backdrop for the three contrasting weft threads of magenta, light pink and electric blue.
You can easily buy silk neck ties from Italian companies which can offer you a wide range of floral, plain and various weaving compositions and you will never be disappointed in the quality. But for the knockout tie which stops people in the street there is a fair bit more work that goes into that and it starts with an appreciation of your basic building blocks as shown below.
|English woven paisley jacquard silk for Le Noeud Papillon Sydney|