You may not be an avid bow tie collector or they may not be your first point of call in your wardrobe, but trust us we may tweak your opinion a tad bit when you feast your eyes on the slick floral bow ties we styled with our sharp haircuts in our recent collaboration between London School of Barbering and Dancys.
Bow ties have been historically synonymous with formal tailoring and with men who had a particular niche taste in this type of neckwear. Fast forward to the world of fashion today and bow ties are perceived now as a statement accessory with endless ways to style them into men’s outfits, so men can create a sheer individual style for themselves rather than just wearing them for occasions. The stigma of bow ties being only for black tie events and weddings has truly vanished thanks to the emergence of new fashion trends and brands like Dancys.
We created a cool, trendy and modish feel in the photoshoot, giving the bow ties a modern update! The effortless but fashionable edge of the clothes complements the clean, impeccable haircuts created by LSB Hair Stylist Henry Stevens.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Creative Director Nelly at Dancys to get the low down on the brand and talk all things bow ties, hair and mens fashion. Read the exclusive interview below….
LSB: How would you describe your male audience?
D: Bearded might be on your mind when you look at our brand….but no, really our audience is a mix and we like that. We seem to appeal to lots of different people but our frequent customer is usually an urban gentleman with a debonair edge. Someone fashion conscious but who wants to create their own style. Our audience seems to appreciate quality, craftsmanship and the made in England label we provide.
LSB: What is the story behind the establishment of your brand?
D: Dancys has been established for a few years now and started as many small businesses do on the side, around a full time job and gradually developed into something more concrete. It’s taken a while to build a strong foundation and gain awareness of the brand and there’s still a long way to go! From the beginning, we knew we wanted it to be a British made brand. We wanted to create each stage of the process ourselves, not just buying in and selling on, so we do take a lot of time and effort in sourcing the prints and styles that we think are right for the brand. Once this has been decided, the next stage is the creation of our products which are made in small batches at our lovely manufacturers in Kent. The idea itself came from working in mens fashion for a long time and noticing a gap in the market for mens accessories that were floral or more unusual and exciting than the plain style ties you see everywhere. We liked the idea that patterned ties didn’t just have to be for weddings or special occasions but could fit into all sorts of styles and day to day looks. We then hoped to expand to socks and shirts, so that just leaves shirts to come!
LSB: What do you love about Dancys as a brand?
D: We love the identity of the brand we have slowly built up, we love our prints and the pleasure that comes from creating items that can’t be found anywhere else. We also appreciate the wider relationships the brand has enabled us to forge with British manufacturers, designers, bloggers etc. It is great to be connected to other creative people/brands and support each other. We like the personal element of Dancys, there’s something personal in everything we do from choosing prints to over seeing production to packing up orders and we think our customers like that.
LSB: What do you think are the reasons why men choose to wear your brand?
D: Most men are looking for high quality and something unique that is different from the norm. Our styles are all produced in limited edition ranges and we never repeat lines so you know you won’t see anyone else wearing that tie or bow-tie which is always appealing. Our prints themselves are sourced from all over the country and we work hard to find patterns you will never find again, so you really are buying something that’s not on the high street. There is a story behind all of our products too, a journey which people appreciate, you know a lot of thought has gone into everything.
LSB: What words would you use to describe the brand?
D: Floral, Dapper, Individual and Quintessentially British!
LSB: Where do you take inspiration for your designs?
D: We sadly don’t design our own prints as of yet, though we are now in the process of exploring how to do so. In the beginning that was the idea, but as a start up we just couldn’t afford to print our own fabric so we had to be content with sourcing fabrics instead. There are endless print and textile books in our studio from fashion to interiors, so we have lots of ideas to choose from. William Morris and Liberty prints are always firm favourites of ours. We do design our products though and make up the initial designs to make any alterations to before the patterns then go to the manufacturers.
LSB: We choose to use your bow ties amongst your other products in our photo shoot, how do you think they are perceived in the fashion world and especially by style/trend setters?
D: It seems like most people either love or hate bow-ties, in our experience anyway! They have always come in and out of fashion unlike the stalwart tie, whilst sometimes being branded as gimmicky or a fashion fad. There is something quite playful and quirky about them which we think is great and they do make a brilliant statement piece. Some celebrities like Matt Smith, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Jared Leto have shown that the bow-tie isn’t old fashioned anymore.
LSB: What fashion trends do you think are hot right now for men?
D: In a sea of urban leisurewear and reinvented 90s looks, its good to see some deconstructed tailoring and bold suit checks sneaking in, these go well with our accessories. We are enjoying seeing the bold floral and palm leaf prints too, as it encourages guys to step up and be more fearless with wearing obvious patterns. Pastel tones and hues of pink are everywhere which is a super fun spring vibe for menswear.
LSB: Have you always been a bow tie fan yourself as an accessory for men?
D: Bow ties fascinate us, they are a mini piece of art! It’s incredible how many different styles and versions of bow ties you can create, it’s actually a far more versatile and adaptable item than a tie and we do love the history of neckwear and how it’s transcended over the decades. When living in Italy last year, we spent some time with an owner of a mens accessories shop where they had made all their ties and bow ties in-house for the last 50 years. It was fascinating to see the endless different patterns lined up and to learn how to make them all. It certainly gave us a new appreciation of bow ties and an understanding that there is plenty of life left in them yet! It’s up to each new generation to re-define how we wear things and give them a new twist.
LSB: Any style advice to share on wearing bow ties?
D: People say it takes confidence to wear a bow tie, but that’s what makes it cool, that you wear it with confidence or you wear it anyway because you like it.
LSB: What do you think of the finished photos and the hairstyles?
D: We couldn’t be happier with the finished photos and hairstyles! Having lived in London previously for 7 years, it’s fantastic to have the products used against a London backdrop and such a cool backdrop too – St. Pauls and motorcycles! All the chaps really suit Dancys bow ties and we love the styling of each guy, it’s how we’d style models for our own shoots too. The impeccable hair styles complete the look. Particularly like the pattern clash of the polkadot shirt and floral bow tie.
LSB: How important is hair when you do your own photo shoots for new collections?
D: We think about hair styles a lot when creating our own fashion shoots, we are always ideally looking for guys with cool hair styles who will make our photos stand out! The bigger the better really unlike beards where we have to be careful that they don’t obscure the neckwear!
LSB: What do you think of the average men’s hairstyle today?
D: There’s so much variety today which is the best thing, we’re particularly partial to a sweep back or a quiff but love to see all the unique styles the city has to offer.
LSB: Is there anything else you would like to share?
D: It’s been a pleasure talking to you and we hope you will all keep up with our journey and all the new products we have to come, we’re excited to show what we’re planning next.
Hair Stylist: Henry Stevens
Photographer: Ilaria Morelli
Fashion Stylist: Rachel Witter
Fashion Stylist’s Assistant: Nailah Rowe
Bow Ties: Dancys
Models: Blake Anderson, Tomas Gajdos, Josh Mills & Oliver Proudlock – John