Some may balk at the asking price of branded silk ties, questioning, is it just the name we?re paying for, only true to a point. There is a lot more than meets the eye inherent in a handmade, or machine made tie, each priced accordingly.
Quality by degrees, the difference between handmade, or machine made, silk count, individuality, and general specifications: The interlining, muslin, and wool, or synthetic fibre: Tipping; silk or taffeta: The make; labelling, elf loop, stitching.
My aim was to draw comparison between handmade and machine made in less than 600 words. Having interacted at all points along the supply chain, from design concept to retail, I had to learn the basic constructs of a tie and its components before I could honestly profess knowledge on the subject.
A hand made is identifiable by opening up the small tip at the narrow end, you will notice a small thread of cotton looped. This is known as the slip thread, and, in spite of technological advances in the sartorial trades can only be achieved by very skilful hands, its labour intensive, hence the additional cost.
Another thing worth mention is you can get only tow ties out of one meter of fabric.
From it are three pieces, known as the blade, the gusset and the under end; threaded together correctly intently to prevent the tie from twisting.
The slip thread will ensure many years? good knottage and spring back into shape after every use. And there is less friction too, extending its life span.
Now the scale of economies starts to favour.
However not all budgets can stretch so far, in these cases a good machine made will suffice quite adequately, besides most laymen cannot tell the difference, or even distinguish between silk and polyester.
The choice of fabrics from Italy, England, China and Japan are enviable, offering and infinite selection of finely woven silks in any colour and pattern combination you heart could possibly desire.
They too vary according to silk count and dying method, either weighted dyes or acid.
English weavers choose acid dyes, which result in an iridescent three dimensional appearance, un-weighted; they require a much higher silk count to achieve density, resulting in a raw brilliance and luxurious handle quite unique to England. Most Savile row tailors and many internationally renowned brands cut a regular path to the doorways of these bespoke weavers scattered sparsely throughout the country side.
Italian weavers are a completely different culture, preferring the muffled colours given off by gum based dyes. And the choice of colours is muted in comparison, shades of greys and blacks, or at the other end of the scale soft pastel colours. Italian style is governed by North South.
No one can compete with China on sheer mass production, affording the masses a little luxury; 100% silk ties.
Now days China is working more in coalition with the west and less in competition, as there are mutual benefits to be shared and past on to the customer.
In conclusion; there is no accounting for taste, suited to style, no matter how great or small the cost.
Here are a few brands that stand out from all the others; Zegna, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Simon Carter, Duchamp and Victoria Richards. Other noteworthy names; available mainly online; Shane McCoubrey, Ian Flaherty, Patrick McMurray, Mira and Michelsons. All adhere to key elements of good design and have a constant ebb and flow of styles.
On the cufflinks front, well that?s another story on its own.