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Randa Salutes Bow Tie Day

Randa Salutes August 28th National Bow Tie Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York, NY (August 28, 2013) – The neckwear business has been on the rise, according to MRketplace, the website that covers the menswear fashion industry, up to about $800 million this year from $677 million in 2008. Bloomberg Magazine puts the market at $850 million for 2013. Conservatively that is an increase of nearly 20 percent, and if Bloomberg is right, perhaps upwards of 25 percent in five years; healthy growth to say the least.



If neckwear is the star in the menswear business, then the bow tie is the same in the neckwear business. Representing 7 percent of total neckwear sales, up from 4 percent last year, the bow tie is a rising star.  Brooks Brothers, a natural at selling bow ties, reported a 60 percent sales increase in 2012, amounting to what a divisional merchandise manager for men’s furnishings said was 10 percent of total neckwear unit sales. Bow ties, says MRketplace, are one of the four elements driving the new neckwear market in terms of style and design.

Randa Accessories, the global leader in men’s accessories, is the dominant player in the marketplace today, producing by far, the majority of bow ties at retail.  In 2013, Randa expects to ship nearly 2 million bow tie shipments, more bow ties than all the bow ties shipped in the company’s 102 year history, combined. The number of retail stores carrying Randa bow ties will have increased 40 times over what was in store four years ago.

A driving factor, Randa is the leader in trend direction, scouring the global marketplace twice-yearly to bring back ideas and inspiration on everything from product to design, display to packaging.  Success comes too, from an ongoing influx of patterns, colors and shapes at retail that are constantly refreshed.
As the leader in presentation, Randa’s uniquely created fixtures and packaging design help their retailers to maximize sales. “Where some retailers dabbled in bow ties previously,” says John Kammeier, Randa’s SVP Neckwear, “this year they’re making a statement with a large assortment and this strategy is proving successful.” Constantly updated merchandise keeps customers engaged and stores filled with the right trends, which for 2013 Kammeier says, are, “reversible, seasonal, conversational, novelty, and formal and special occasion.”

This illustrates what may be surprising to some, the popularity of the bow tie, but to those who make and sell and wear them, bow ties are hot and becoming hotter. For bow tie aficionados, bow tie day is every day.

The reasons for this are manifold. One is the dressing down of the bow tie; the trend to wear it with more casual attire. This has allowed for creative, individual dressing and expanded merchandising, in the sport shirt department, alongside vests and in warm weather, with short sleeve polos. Seasonal fabrics, color and pattern, and pattern and fabric mixing are also playing roles, providing a look that is unique and personal sought by both “millennial and older” shoppers.

“There is also a cultural trend,” says David J. Katz, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Randa, “with a couple of things attracting attention to bow ties. First there is what is coming from the media, and the television and film worlds. And second, the psychology of counter-generational dressing.” Television series such as “Downton Abbey” and “Boardwalk Empire,” films like “Gatsby,” bring the art of dressing center stage where the finest accessory and the smallest of details play a leading role as much as the actors. Every brace, every cuff link, every bow tie made ever more alluring by the actors wearing them.

The notion of counter-generational dressing is a universal phenomenon. Each generation often rejects what the generation immediately prior embraced as a uniform and looks to even older generations for inspiration. The millennial rejects his baby boomer father’s business casual as the baby boomer casts off the bow ties and fedoras of his father’s generation. The key difference today is choice. While in fact the millennial may embrace his own version of well-appointed dressing as inspired by his grandfather let’s say, and the baby boomer may welcome business casual as a reaction to the suit and tie uniform of his father, the 21st century has brought with it freedom of choice and the personal statement’s appeal for all stylish men. This creates a perfect arena in which accessories thrive; where a few chosen accessories can add just the right distinctive flourishes to a man’s look. Enter the bow tie, the ultimate personal statement accessory.

“The accessory becomes a statement of personality,” says Tom Julian, Director of Strategic Business Development at The Doneger Group, a merchandising and retail consulting firm. “…Rather than the demographic it’s the psychographic. He can be a prepster, a hipster, a geek, a surfer, a rocker. (It’s) a way to stand out; to look distinct.”

Advantages of the Bow Tie

1.     It’s easy. There are theoretically 85 different types of knots for a necktie, there’s only one knot for the bow tie. It doesn’t get simpler than that. If you can tie your shoes you can tie a bow tie. Perfect is not required, in fact a little imperfect is preferred as a sure sign that you tied it yourself. And pre-tied is acceptable, making the how-to-tie-a-tie question moot; although not for a purist. The same is definitely not true for a necktie.

2.     Variety. There are many shapes and styles to reflect your taste and personality. Small with square ends, butterfly, diamond-pointed, narrow, large and floppy, reversible, plaid, conversationals in quirky patterns such as vespas.

3.     It’s convenient. It won’t get in the way while you’re working or cooking or get caught in the shredder for that matter. It won’t fall into your soup, and the soup won’t fall onto it.

4.     Wearing a bow tie puts you in great company. In history, from geniuses to world leaders to entertainers all favored them. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain; Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and FDR; Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Houdini, and Charlie Chaplin. Today’s list includes superstars such as Justin Timberlake, Jon Hamm, NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, Outkast’s Andre 3000, and Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame.

5.     You’ll get noticed.


Did You Know?

1.     The number of Google searches for bow ties outpaces that of neckties and is trending up while in fact the number for necktie is trending down. Just today bow tie comes up at nearly 31.4 million in Goggle Search and the necktie a mere 12.3 million.

2.     The fastest time to tie on a bow tie is 13.59 seconds. The record is held by Dhani Jones, NFL player who retired in 2011 with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was first inspired to wear them when a friend since high school, who always wore them, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. The friend’s illness is now years in full remission and in 2010 Jones launched the philanthropic initiative Bow Tie Cause.

3.     The birth of the bow tie and the birth of the necktie are rooted in the lengthy history of the cravat, whose manner of tying could evoke either a necktie or a bow tie depending, and credited to Croatian mercenaries in the 1600s. Interestingly, evidence of neckwear worn in a similar manner exists from almost 1600 years prior. The “terracotta army,” found in the underground tomb of Shih Huang Ti, 259 - 210 BC, contained figures each bedecked in a kind of “necktie.” Neckwear can also be seen, in three different styles, on soldiers depicted on Trajan’s column of the second century AD, the only known depiction of legionnaires with neckwear. But it is the Croatians, who fought in support of other 
European nations throughout most of the 17th century as well as for France, and their picturesque scarves distinctively knotted to keep the top of the shirt closed at the neck and in varying fabrics to indicate military rank, that were the seminal influences. Because when the “Sun King,” France’s King Louis XIV saw these scarves, he abandoned the heretofore starched, high-lace collar, donning instead the Croatian mercenary’s more practical and beautiful “cravat.” And subsequently launched this bow tie predecessor into a fashionable rage throughout Europe that remained for centuries.

4.     Over the 18th and 19th centuries from country to country and century to century, the cravat went through quite an evolution, using different kinds of knots and a wide range of styles: from stiff and formal with complicated knots to the more casual look and a floppy bow style, especially popular in the later 19th century when collars became lower.

5.     They were even taken up by women, the “Merveilleuses,” during the French Revolution.  

6.     It has been reported that cravats could be wrapped so tightly that they stopped a sword thrust.

7.     At one point the cravat grew so high that a man had to turn his body in order to turn his head. Dickens describes the absurdity in his 1848 book “Dombey and Son,” saying “…Mr Dombey, slightly turning his head in his cravat, as if it were a socket.”

8.     George “Beau” Brummel, the Regency England arbiter of men’s fashion, credited with introducing and making fashionable the modern men's suit worn with a necktie, added starch back to the cravat in the late 18th century. In the process Beau Brummel turned his daily dressing and cravat tying into an art and a career. Brummel, the first progenitor of dressing as personal expression, claimed to take five hours to dress, changing three times per day, accumulating a pile of discarded cravats not tied to his standard of perfection, much to the consternation of his maid.

9.     According to the now defunct Neckwear Association of America, it was prohibited to touch another man’s cravat in the 19th century and such an act could, provoke a duel.

10.  Later in the 19th century, cravats shrank into smaller bows especially with the turned down collar that had developed, a style that can be seen in Civil War photographs. In fact, there were so many different ways of tying that by 1840 usage of the word “tie” had replaced “cravat” on a mass scale.

11.  The bow tie as we know it today made its appearance in the 1920s, favored by boys in short pants. But it seems related to the mid-19th century Stock, an alternative to the cravat, which manifested as a collar with a bow rather than a cloth wrapped and tied.

12.  No matter its form or style or name, the cravat remained popular in all its variations until the late nineteenth century when it was replaced by the necktie, perfect for the time’s industrial age and clerical workforce because it was inexpensive and quick and easy to knot.

13.  The first mass-produced readymade tie was patented in 1864 becoming popular in Germany and the United States and by the early twentieth century, American made neckwear began to rival that of Europe. 

14.  Cravat is cited most often as a corrupt French pronunciation of the word Croat. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “croat” and “cravat” are etymologically linked.  Encyclopedia Britannica dates it to 1656.

15.  In Croatia, October 18th is Cravat Day commemorating Croatia’s part in the history of this men’s accessory.

16.  In the US, August 28th is National Bow Tie Day.


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About Randa Accessories
Randa Accessories is the global leader in lifestyle accessories and the world’s largest men’s accessories company. Collaborating with 75 leading brands, Randa designs, reinvents, manufactures, and markets men’s belts, wallets, neckwear, small leather goods, luggage, backpacks, business cases, seasonal footwear, jewelry, and gifts. From its origins as a neckwear company over a century ago, Randa today sells more bow ties than the rest of the industry combined and now provides fashion, lifestyle, luxury, and private branded products through retailers in all channels of distribution, worldwide.  More information is available at www.randa.net.

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