Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties


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Monday, September 21, 2015

Just Because You Brought The First Pig To Market Does Not Mean You Will Corner It

I never wanted to get into the 'fashion' business because I thought of myself, though many of my fellow contemporary bloggers will disagree with me, as a man of classic style. That being said, recently in the superb Netflix series 'Chef's Table' the chef Ben Shewry says something along the lines of 'people assume that creative people are creative because it's just in their soul and they need to be creative, but in reality you become creative to keep your customers coming back'. I am paraphrasing and perhaps I have not done Shewry justice but the gist is, you become creative in your work out of necessity in some instances rather than the desire simply to be creative. Perhaps distilled further we arrive back at that old adage, necessity is the mother of invention.

Many years back my shirt maker and I started working on patterns for pop-overs. The original design I had seen in Italy. It was I think in a back street of Como during a visit to the silk mills. I had asked my shirt maker why Australians hadn't worn more of them given our climate and the need to be more casual with shirts. Accordingly I began wearing them regularly and slowly my customer's took to them and I started writing about them after a period of time. One of my earlier posts is here.  And another is here.

Then an idea came to me one day to fuse the work I had done on pop-overs and merge them with t-shirts as a solution for Australian men who wanted something with more structured than a ribbed collar pique polo but less formal than a shirt. Merging the structured collar and mid placket of cotton shirting pop-overs with jersey and pique cloth both in long sleeve and short sleeve seemed to give Sydney based men the flexibility to move around this dynamic city without the need to change. I then approached the subject with my friend Raja Farah, who was one of my first customers for a pop-over and the concept of Moth of Sydney was born and we agreed to a partnership.

I asked Raja during those first gestational months of patterns and research whether we could patent our design in the same way that one Sydney family had patented the clip-on bow tie plastic clip a few decades before but he informed me that the fashion game was not like that and it was almost impossible to patent aspects of fashion garments. 'It's a good thing' if they copy you, he said, 'don't take it personally'.

I try not to take it personally because in fairness I have emulated and sought guidance from the great masters in tailoring and tie makers in the process of developing Le Noeud Papillon and I am sure those that I draw inspiration from might sometimes find it frustrating themselves to see us come along. Except to say that when it is other small companies which copy you, you don't seem to mind so much as when it is fashion companies like Uniqlo and Zara that can really bamboozle your design and take something which you held most dear and somewhat exclusive and then feed it out to the masses with almost no regard for your hard-work in refining and changing that product over time.

To say that we were the first to put a structured collar onto a t-shirt would be false. Since coming up with the design I have found numerous historical references from companies like Brioni that had made similar products in the 1970's. To say that our design of our plackets and collars was unique to our company, that's also false. Both the pop-over and the collar styles we have used have been around for a long long time. Perhaps the only thing we actually created was the fusion of shirting cotton collars and plackets with jersey bodies. And in doing so, what really is there to pat yourself on the back about?

The push of our product category into the mainstream by tennis playing icon Novak Djokovic and others reminds me that in the end, the world favours marketing over designers. I write this wearing a beautiful curved cutaway high collar stand in black oxford Moth of Sydney long sleeve pop-over in a black Filoscozia yarn dyed jersey mourning the fact that you might just be the first pig to market but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll corner it. Shop Moths



A process of refinement, the transformation of pop-over shirts to our Moths took time to gestate and required a wide search for materials and the refinement of patterns. 



New additions to the world of Moths are those that have been featured on tennis player Novak Djokovic

Recent designs by Michael Bastien for Uniqlo

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