Perhaps Warren St. John said it best:
To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.
There’s no denying bows ties are back in a big way. Some would argue they were never really gone. Eclectic and iconic names like Winston Churchill, Karl Marx, and Pee-Wee Herman immediately come to mind. (Yes, we just put those three guys in the same sentence, which has probably never been done before.) But there’s another name becoming synonymous with the bow tie — and definitely in a good way: Lord Wallington.
The hands behind Lord Wallington belong to Immanuel Ontiveros, and in a modern world of mass-produced madness, his work offers a refreshing return to product as customized pieces of art.
BedStu: So you really make your neckwear and pocket squares by hand?
Immanuel: Yes. I make each tie and pocket square by hand. We have a seasonal line-up that I produce a couple at a time to have on hand, but for the most part each tie is made to order.
BedStu: How long have you been doing this, and what got you started?
Immanuel: I have been making bow ties for about two years now. I went to the store one day to buy a bow tie because I thought I was being original by buying one from a department store. Turns out that originality was gone when I passed a guy on the street with the same exact bow tie. It was then that I wanted to keep wearing bow ties, but needed to make sure I was not going to run into anyone else with the same one, so I started making my own. I bought a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew using the fabric from some old pant legs. Two years later I am still learning new techniques.
BedStu: Bow ties are big right now, and perhaps always have been to various degrees. But to what do you attribute this current surge in popularity?
Immanuel: Pop culture has had a part in bringing the bow tie from tuxedos and professors to a younger crowd. Once people saw that a bow tie doesn’t need to be worn in a formal setting, it was an “ah ha” moment for the fashion industry to capitalize on this accessory that has been around for hundreds of years.
BedStu: What’s the driving inspiration behind your work?
Immanuel: My driving inspiration is knowing there is always a new fabric or material I can find to make a bow tie as conservative or as crazy as I want. The freedom to create is what drives me and there is no limit on it.
BedStu: You’re recently married! Congrats are certainly in order. How’s married life treating you thus far?
Immanuel: Yes, thank you. Marriage has been treating me very well. My wife (still getting used to calling her that) is extremely supportive and has a huge role in the business on the technology side. We’re a good balance of both the right and left sides of the brain.
BedStu: What else is on the horizon for Lord Wallington?
Immanuel: Currently we are looking to bring other passionate individuals from around the country into our website to promote their handcrafted ties or pocket squares. We are also slowly building The Den, which is a place for vintage items that would look great in any office, den, or man cave. We also just launched our patent pending bow tie concept which I believe is changing the way we shop for bow ties.
BedStu: Interchangeable bow ties? Incredible. Thanks for taking the time, we’re always inspired to speak to and hear from innovative brands still putting elbow grease into their product.