Friday, 31 December 2010

...& Happy New Year!

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."

Not sure these words by Cecil Beaton are always easy to live by, but they certainly help to motivate!

Best wishes for a wonderful 2011...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Marwood




Thursday, 16 December 2010

Photographing Ties

There are so many ways to photograph a tie and make it look interesting. Shooting Marwood ties is proving to be an experiment and this screen-grab of a selection of photos of cables by Julien Bornet is the inspiration for them. Looking forward to showing you the finished website with photo-shoot in January.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Across the Pond...

American prep style by Rhett.
Certainly not stuffy and great combos.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Details, Details.

But it's just a tie isn't it?

That is the common sentiment that arises when discussing this product. Why ties? Why this one product? Do you do anything else? Not right now we don't, no.

The best thing about starting Marwood has been the exploration of one product and delving in to the details of this accessory and learning about its components, its uses and its meanings.

The factory visits have been eye-opening. Today during a phone conversation with Chris, an important contributor in the development stage between Marwood and the factory, we reflected on the last couple of months. We discussed the things that have gone wrong, the lessons learnt for next time and how there are so many choices for such a seemingly simple object. Attention to minute measurements, various lining qualities, width, length, finishing, pressing. It is not that this is any different to any other item of clothing but it is interestingly complex compared to the object's exterior image. A tie is a commonplace object with commonplace connotations and it is not appreciated as more than that for those reasons. Also, it is an object that can be visually achieved so quickly and cheaply, although those imitations won't have the lasting quality of a hand finished, English woven and made product with years of expertise behind it in the make.

Anyway, Marwood has become quite fond of this strange object. We want the design subtleties we have learnt to stay with us as this journey continues.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Patti's Tie

An iconic accessory for Patti

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Product Support

Concorde memorabilia packaging, Britain. 2003
Photographer: Peter Marlow.
Maintaining the form of the product

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Rodchenko's Perspective

Two years ago The Hayward in London showcased an inspirational collection of photographs by Alexander Rodchenko. After sifting through old research and finding some copies of his pictures, they seem relevant once again. His point of view certainly is...

"In order to educate man to a new longing, everyday familiar objects must be shown to him with totally unexpected perspectives, and in unexpected situations."

Previously unseen photographs by Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko, held in private hands until now, will be unveiled at newly branded Art Sensus on 21 January 2011 -

Sunday, 5 December 2010


A couple of old research pages out of the box and on to the blog...

Styling ideas are currently on the mind and nothing quite beats a white shirt for the perfect base for a tie. The recent snow fall created a wonderful serene image out of the most concrete of locations. A cunning reminder of a tone that works for all, just as an accessory can do.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Handcrafted: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes.

Last week we visited our factory in Kent, England. Photographer, Callum Toy, came along to record the various stages of making the Marwood necktie. The process is thorough, efficient and obviously well practiced and the team behind the scenes of this handmade product are professional and highly skilled as well as warm, friendly and welcoming.

Working with a factory is very inspiring. It always offers new ways of thinking and approaching a product when you are given the reasons why something is done. Traditional methods are passed on and continued for a reason - they work - but it is an enjoyable part of the design process to apply these methods in unusual ways whether that be fabrication, proportion or cut.

New variations and combinations of a traditional formula is something we will continue to explore at Marwood.

A small selection of the photos for now. More to follow soon with a close up viewpoint of 'the making of'...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Marwood Samples...

...arrived and well

The first set of Marwood samples have been completed. We collected the box this afternoon and revealed 60 samples - multiples of a dozen designs and colourways. Oooh what to choose as the final set.

Not long now until we can show you the final product folks.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Diamond Patterns

A snapshot taken from the Margiela exhibition held at Somerset House this summer.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Virtual Reality

Here is a great selection of images found in the book 'We Are The People'... a collection of postcards by Tom Phillips.
Such a fascinating and comical glimpse in to the past. A time when flying was an unattainable experience and going to an English seaside town would invite people to virtually experience it through these 3d contraptions. The serious poses, formal attire and commandeering expressions definitely gives a sense of importance to their activity! Classic.

Monday, 15 November 2010

A most recognisable shape

Although flat ended designs are becoming more common, it is the pointed tip shape of a necktie that we all know, love and immediately recognise. Marwood ties will honour this tradition.

The designing process of this product has been an interesting one. Having previously worked across most product ranges in Men's and Women's wear design, it has been a pleasure to focus so tightly on one product and give it our utmost attention.

Designing tailoring is all about an acute eye for detail and proportion. At a previous job at Ralph Lauren, it was an eye opener to see the experienced Senior Director of Purple Label notice the position of a ticket pocket was a few millimetres off spec. Once checked with a ruler, his guess was spot on. An eye for detail like that comes with experience, but concentrating on such a considered product like the neck tie is certainly solid training.

Deliberating over 0.5cm doesn't seem so crazy anymore.

Photo credit (from top) - Julien Bornet's photo of his friend's wedding, Spacial Reliefs (1960) by Helio Oiticia, 3rd photo credit to be posted asap.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

An article...

Digging around on the internet we came across this old article written in 2006 on 'Style Guy Blog'. It is an interesting paragraph that helps to reaffirm our intentions of launching as a focussed collection specialising in one idea - neckwear. We believe in trying to get this right first and then we will see what could come next. Again this article reminds us that we often look to the past to find something new for today - the nice part for Marwood would be to create that blend of old taste with contemporary style for now.

"Not so long ago, before the auteur theory hit fashion and the designer craze was born, certain brands were known for excellence in one area, like shirts and ties. I was a nut for Gant and Wren shirts as a young preppy. In the old days there were also brands known mainly for their ties, like Countess Mara and Vera. In fact Ralph Lauren started out as a tie brand. As a young dude I liked Rooster ties. Rooster was sort of the art tie brand. They came in distinctive, often clever patterns, they had a nice slim shape that went well with the Ivy League cut, and you could tell them by their squared-off end. They are about as close as ties ever got to art, except maybe Fornasetti, and they are exactly what designers are trying to emulate today. You can still find 'em in Salvation Army stores and thrift shops. Here's one I picked up recently. It's a kind of luminous silk (usually Roosters are cotton), and it's wider than the usual Rooster, so it must date from the seventies, but it's just right for today." Written by Style Guy Blogger.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Wallpaper Jacket & Tie

A friend's peeling wallpaper became a setting for some nifty tie placement.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The origin of the tie...

The necktie can be traced back to 1618-48 during the Thirty Years' War when Croatian mercenaries wore small, knotted neckerchiefs during their time in French service. The Parisians noticed their unique accessory and decided to take it on for themselves. Originally named "Croates", these neck pieces became known as "Cravats" and the result of this new item being noticed meant that the cravat started a fashion craze in Europe where both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. In the late 17th Century these cravats were made out of lace which became fussy garments to arrange precisely... the wearer taking great pride in the arrangement and fastening of their neckpiece.

(thanks for the info and picture)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Patterned Interiors

Wiener Werkstatte room in 'Osterrisches Haus' at Cologne Werkbund Exhibition, 1914.
Reference taken from the book: 'Wonderful Wiener Werkstatte - Design in Vienna 1903-1932' by Christian Brandstatter. Blurb taken from the introduction below...

'At the turn of the 20th Century, Vienna was the European epicentre of innovation of the arts. in 1903 the Vienna Workshops were created - an idealistic offspring of Art Nouveau that, in resistance to increasing mass production and industrialisation, called for integregation of the fine and applied arts, the union of form and function in design, and treatment of everyday objects with refined craftmanship and aesthetic care. The movement embraced all areas of arts and design.'

This approach and point of view is completely in-keeping with the Marwood ethos and fits in perfectly with our decision making process when designing and producing Marwood Ties.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Just a Madder of Time

What is a 'madder' tie?
The word 'madder' refers to a natural dye from a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Rubia Tinctoria, and it was the root from this plant that was used as a regal dyestuff since ancient times. Only since the 19th century has this special dye been used mostly on silk and it is known for producing soft, muted, deep colours in a tight palette of red, green, chocolate, medium blue and yellow. The distinguishable feature of silk printed with the madder dye, along with the colours, is the dusty-looking finish and soft, brushed hand-feel (commonly described as a 'chalk hand'); this is created by initially using a special type of 'gum' silk for this printing process, which is first treated separately by being boiled to remove its natural gum, then dyed and then bathed in a new gum solution.
Madder ties have become a very well recognised symbol of an English Gentleman's warbrobe , in paisley or a small geometric pattern and reliable merchants such as Drakes or labels along Savile Row take pride in still providing it in their offerings. It does however tend to look old and it often gets avoided as it could appear to be 'stuffy' or too traditional.
As for Marwood... we definitely want to embrace this craft, especially as it uses such a painstaking and unique process known to be English. Although this may not be present in the first collection, we are investigating contacts and think it would be even better to do as a collaboration. A limited run of a madder printed tie - but with the Marwood edge? We look forward to working on it.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Boys and their Toys

We picked up these postcards the other day and they have good Marwood spirit.
Photographer: Roman Signer

Monday, 13 September 2010

A bit about Drakes of London

Drakes of London are the makers of the finest English neckties. They have been around since 1977 and have their own tie-making facilities on their premises in Clerkenwell, London. Here at Marwood we admire Drakes for producing a quality product that truely provides for the traditional tie-wearing City worker yet recently they have also responded to the demand from stores such as Dover Street Market and Comme des Garçons for a more modern take on neckwear, and it is this part of their collection which Marwood is in a way competing with. There is a demand for modern, relevant neckwear for a fashion conscious consumer who still cares about tradition and quality assurance. Marwood's initial vehicle is neckwear and it allows us to explore and design with pattern in wool and silk. Every tie in the Marwood collection will be a pattern of some kind (no stripes or motifs though) and although it will be reminiscent of the past, it will have a strong image and modern context, making it an appealing new choice.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tie Making from a Garden Shed

On the far right side of this photo ( you can see the front entrance to the garden shed that has been converted in to a tie-making studio on the border of Scotland...

A shed with a view of fields to the horizon.
Below, Frances sewing the lining in for a 'machine-made' tie using a special feeder on the machine to ensure it's stitched centrally. Marwood is developing the majority of its tie range as a hand-made product which will not involve this machine, however it is a good option for a more commercial price-friendly end of the range. Machine-made ties are not to be snubbed as long as the correct process is used, however the refined finish of a hand-finish is a definitely noticable and worth the extra pennies.Frances showing me her process on a sunny day in Berwickshire.
Discussing lining qualities for Marwood ties.
A couple of weeks ago Marwood made a journey on British Rail to Berwick-upon-Tweed to visit a tie-maker who will work on developing the perfect Marwood tie. We found out about Frances through a Welsh Mill (Cambrian) who pointed us in her direction and it was a pleasure to visit her unique set-up. Frances has made ties for the past 30 years and her company was a victim of the recession last year, so she downsized and decided to take a handful of clients and work on a more personal level from her back garden. It has proved a success and she has been busier than ever.

These photographs were taken by Callum Toy who shot everything on film (as he always does) and Marwood is happy to have his support and interest in recording the behind-the-scenes of Marwood Ties as they are being made and developed. Marwood met Callum through the silk mill Stephen Walters and has not looked back since. A fantastic collaboration that we hope to continue, particularly as this is a small part of a greater story that Toy will undertake concerning the documentation of the entire silk process.

To be continued...

Monday, 6 September 2010


Wearing a vintage tie picked out from Marwood's research box, Henry styles it out perfectly with an old tie clip and tweed jacket and blue shirt just to throw it off slightly. Looking sharp Mr Preston.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Travelling Ties

Auction site:
Looking on this auction site for research I came across this silk tie case from the 1880s. A modern version of this is the wooden tie box, this is one of Marwood's own collection photographed below. It would be interesting to develop a combination of these two to create a workable, modern storage method which is nostalgic but not sentimental and designed to look as impressive as the wooden version but perhaps more user friendly - particularly for travelling, which if we are honest is when ties get crushed and distorted and begin to look like rags.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Men Improve with the Years?

Finding lovely old books is always a pleasure.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Russell and Hodge Bespoke London Shirtmakers

The attention to detail and bespoke service that can be found in London is something to be proud of. Ideally Marwood will eventually create an off-the-peg shirt (as well as custom-made) that will be reliably considerate to detail but have a less formal finesse to it. Quality won't be compromised but the option of formal clothing with a subtle edge is where we are heading. Textures and patterns leave a less polished finish on high class cottons (in a good way) and as the shirt is the backdrop to the centre piece necktie, it has to complement and accentuate it in every way.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dalston Lane Cafe

Marwood spotted this tie-wearer over lunch today. This kind fellow offered to de-knot himself in order for me to take a closer look and he explained that this tie was very old and once belonged to his Dad. This is a current theme that keeps occurring... a nostalgic element to aquiring neckwear and we at Marwood believe this is due to a lack of options these days. Some of the best ties we have found are in the bottom of a decrepid suitcase at the back of a vintage store and if the pattern is right, you can guarantee the quality of cloth or the dimensions of the tie won't be. We may be repeating ourselves on this point but seeing as it is the main driving force behind Marwood's aesthetic and design philosophy - you will hear it again.
Although Marwood won't help you out with any striped, knitted or square end ties (sorry Cafe fellow), it will aim to please in offering new, multi-patterned, quality assured options that will act as a focus point to a casual day (pop to the cafe) kind of look or a formal wedding.

Marwood patterns are in work and currently being spun on the loom in the finest silk and wool. The first collection will be launched in January 2011.