In London late last year, I visited Drake’s factory on Haberdasher Street in London. The article about that visit is here. It’s a beautiful place to be, with bolts of silk, cashmere, wool and various fabric blends framing the perimetre of the newly renovated upstairs work room, surrounding the team of makers.
Whilst there, I had a look at the wall of bespoke cloths, part of Drake’s comprehensive offering, allowing customers to create ties to their individual preferences, with the ability to choose important details, including length, width and interlining. Customers can also nominate minor details such as whether or not a keeper loop should be sewn in or how the tie should be tipped (the back side of the ties tips, which can be finished in the same cloth as the tie (self tipped), another colour or with simple hand rolled edges).
It’s a nice option to have available for anyone with specific preferences and the cost difference is negligible, at or around a little over 20GBP for a bespoke tie. The sentiment shared by many is that if you’ve decided to spend upwards of 130 pounds for a standard tie from Drake’s, you may as well spend a few more and have it made exactly the way you want it.
I chose mid-grey cashmere. Grey for its versatility, cashmere for its softness and texture. It’s rare that I’ll ever wear a traditional silk tie anymore, I’m much more at home with the warmth, relaxed nature and texture which comes from wool, cashmere, linen and cotton, or silks with more texture than usual, like shantung, tussah, grenadine or knits.
Cashmere typically has a lot of body, which adds to its softness and appeal, but it can also make it a little too thick for how I knot my ties (classic four-in-hand knot). I had initially chosen a mid weight interlining but changed to a light weight lining. In hindsight, I’m glad I did, because the finished tie knots beautifully, without becoming too thick.
I reduced the length from the standard 148cm, to 146cm. Next time I’d reduce the length further to 144cm which would be just about right for my height (177cm). The width was kept at the standard 8cm as it fits well with my proportions. If you’re very broad and tall you might want to choose 9cm, or 7cm if you’re shorter or have a slight build.
Finally, I choose not to have any tipping on the tie, but for hand rolled tips. The casualness and visibly handmade element of the edges is nicer than the more rigid feel of more fabric which comes with a self tipped tie.
Jamie Ferguson (of Drake’s) was kind enough to take the images below of the tie being made. A well made tie isn’t an overly complex process and you’ll see many similarities if you’ve read my earlier article on how Hermes make their ties, but like most things in life, the difference and quality is found in the detail – in this case, comprised of the quality of the cloth and the care with which the components are assembled.
Trimming and Pressing:
Labels and Keeper Loop:
I’ve had the chance to wear the tie on a few occasions since it arrived and I’m pleased to say its already become one of my favourite ties, with the lighter interlining being the perfect match for the body of the cashmere and the grey able to be worn with so many outfits, from suits to jeans.