It's only been a month since Stalward Ltd. launched its online shop, and a handful of its tie designs are already sold out. That's because owner Matt Gorton hand-sources his dead-stock fabrics at swap meets and flea markets across the country. And once a style's gone, it's really gone.
The ties in his summer collection, available in linen, cotton, and chambray, measure 2.5 inches at their widest point, meaning they're not quite hipster skinny, but not stodgy and thick, either. "They're inspired by blue-collar workers of the sixties, who wore the same classic tie for work or for a drink," says Gorton. All Stalward ties are handcrafted in a family-run Chicago factory, and it's the details that define this newcomer. Take, for example, the backside, where Gorton replaced a typical company label with a red, black, and white loop fashioned from surplus army gas lamp wicks. The packaging is original, too: All Stalward ties are delivered in hand-stamped cardboard boxes wrapped in red and white bakery twine. It's this kind of sophisticated quirk, along with the narrow-but-not-super-skinny width, that takes the routine out of knotting, and throwing one on becomes something you can actually look forward to in the morning.
So how should one best wear one? "They're meant to be casual, knotted in a pretty right half-Windsor atop shorts, or laid-back pants," says Gorton. But that's only if you can get your hands on one. [$64; stalward-ltd.com]