Earlier in the summer I got a message from Linkson, the owner and head of a web shop called Linkson Jack, that they were going to launch a new “bespoke tie service” in collaboration with Italian Arcuri Cravatte and offered me a chance to give the service a try.
Well I decided to take the chance and a couple weeks ago the tie was delivered. Now as I’ve already got few chances to wear it as well it’s time to take a little closer look.
Arcuri Cravatte is a small Italian company - specialized only in ties - run by Franco Arcuri who in fact didn’t start his professional career as a tie maker but as a business consultant and his wife, who actually according to their words is responsible for the quality control of the products.
All ties are handmade in Calabria, Southern Italy.
First few words about grenadine ties, that are ties produced with a complex weave which creates a beautiful, variegated texture.
In general there are two types of grenadine - garza grossa (large weave) and garza fina (fine weave). Most of the world’s grenadine is made by an Italian mill, Fermo Fossati, where the cloth is made by old shuttle looms that still weave stuff that even cannot be made with modern high-speed equipment.
Grenadine ties in solid colors (e.g black, bottle green, burgundy, dark brown or navy blue) are staples that should be found from every man’s wardrobe. In some instances it’s even been said that in case a man were to have but one necktie in his wardrobe, it should be a black silk grenadine. Personally I would opt for navy though. Grenadine’s texture gives it visual and aesthetic interest despite its (usual) subdued coloring, and these features makes it easy to wear almost with anything.
More about the process and also a “discount code” after the break.
The “bespoke tie service” process
As mentioned, the opportunity I was given was to take and try the new “bespoke service” by Linkson Jack. What this basically means is that the tie was made exactly to my choices in terms of materials, color, construction and details.
1) Material and color
Overall in the process before making the order there are basically seven (or 8) choices to make. First of all I needed to make up my mind in terms of material and color I wanted to go for. As I’ve been longing for a navy blue grenadine for quite a while I decided that now would be a good time to put that part of my collection in order.
Secondly one needs to consider the amount of folds (in this care 3, which is the standard, 5 or 6). Folding happens after the fabric for a tie has been cut and even though the effect of having more folds can be debated, in general additional folds add weight and drape to the tie, and can sometimes be necessary to add body to a tie, especially in case the fabric that is used is very thin. Thought in terms of grenadine, more folds can in some cases make the tie to be a bit (too) bulky, especially if it’s made by using large weave grenadine and interlining.
Moreover, tie’s quality can never strictly be inferred just from the number of folds it has but ties with five folds or more are in general more difficult to make, requiring more material and skill (usually made by hand), and thus are appreciated and as well comes with a higher price tag.
In terms of folds I was first going for 6 but finally ended up with 5, which is actually something you don’t see that often and which in my opinion in a way combines the positive sides of different options (especially as I decided to go with no interlining). The tie stays neat and thin without being too plump but you can still see and feel the craftsmanship when taking a closer look.
3) Length & Width
Length and width of a tie are more just questions of a personal preference. Most ready-to-wear ties are around 147cm in lenght (in the options offered by Linkson 136-155cm are considered as standard) and varies from 7,5cm-9,0cm in width. My personal preference in terms of width is around 8,5cm which I actually consider to be the most classical width as well.
It’s all about your own build and proportions but when talking about grenadine (or actually any other than knitted) ties I think no one should ever go under 7,5cm in terms of width.
Interlining is the part that comprises the “body” of most ties, usually made of wool or wool blend fabric, on which the so called envelope or shell (the visible fabric) of a tie is folded over. Interlining helps the tie to keep its shape, drape on the wearer, and shake out wrinkles after it has been worn. In some cases tie has no interlining, hence it may need to be folded more than the basic three times to give the tie some more “body” and structure. In terms of grenadine ties it also good to keep in mind that with large weave (garza grossa) you may need (or want) some interlining to avoid your shirt to be visible through the loose weave of the tie.
I personally don’t have too many unlined ties so in this case I wanted to give that a try. This was also to keep the tie in balance considering the material (fine weave grenadine) and construction (5/6-fold) already chosen. Being unlined also in my opinion gives the tie a bit more casual, slouchy feeling making it suitable for more laid-back summer combinations in addition to the formal and business occasions.
"Tipping" is the material that’s used to finish the backside of the tie’s lower end. In most of ties this part is machine-stitched on and typically goes up about 8-10cm but can in some cases run even higher, though it’s not desirable. If a tie is said to be "self-tipped", it means the tip is made from the same material shell itself has been cut from.
Third option is the tie to be “untipped”, which means that you will see no extra fabric in addition to the shell. In this case the edges of a tie can either be sewn flat or hand rolled and hand sewn, which of course will give the tie a much more nice touch and finish.
In my case, again considering the choices stated, I ended up having my piece “untipped”.
Finally there’s only one choice to make and that’s whether or not to have a so-called “keeper”. Keeper is the band of fabric in the back that will keep your back blade in place. Even though the trend at the moment seems to be having your back blade visible (and in some cases intentionally a bit longer than the front) it won’t really make a big difference in the look of your tie to have the keeper, just in case.
First of all it needs to be said (and what I’ve probably said before in my reviews) that I’m not really a pro or an expert when it comes to the construction issues of clothing or some detailed features of fabrics for example. However I dare to say that I already have quite a bit of experience regarding different brands, products, and ways of making the products and I think Franco Arcuri actually has said it nicely by referring to so called “feel good factor” which means that the most important thing you get is the experience (and feeling) of wearing an item, from the skin’s contact with the fabric through to the combination of colors and patterns. This “feel good factor” is something I most often nowadays base my acquisitions.
However in terms of ties and their quality there are few things I consider to be important. First of all is the knot, i.e how easy it is to tie a good looking knot. Of course this is also a question of your skills that can be improved but that put aside there are certain differences between different versions of ties. I basically always use either normal four-in-hand or the so-called double FiH and as you can partly see in the pics the tie by Arcuri is top notch in this feature. Despite the lightweight construction that can sometimes be a problem it’s easy to tie, comes up with a beautiful knot, makes a nice dimple, stays nicely in balance and most importantly keeps the knot without coming loose during the day. Finally, it also returns to its original shape after wearing nicely, a feature that at least in my book (especially taking into consideration the grenadine fabric) is a one the most easily recognizable signs of a high-quality tie.
To conclude I could say that I was looking for a staple tie and I definitely got one. Got one that will fill my needs in this category for a long time and got one that satisfies my “feel good factor”.
Discount code for the readers of DLA
Almost last but definitely not least, Linkson was also kind enough to giving me the opportunity to offer you my readers and followers a little offer.
For the next 7 days, starting from today (Thursday) you can obtain £51.50 (~60€ / $80) off of any bespoke tie models (see them here) as well as ready-to-wear ties that are not on sale with a code DLATIES.
As the bespoke ties normally starts from around 120£ (140€), the discount will bring them down to around 70£ (80€) which is pretty much less than average ready-to-wear grenadine ties on the market. Considering the quality and possibilities of customization this is (IMHO) a really good deal.
Private shopping @ Linkson Jack
Linkson is also offering another pretty unique feature, a service they call private shopping. Basically the service means that they will offer you a private payment plan so that you can first reserve the product you like, and they will after that save it for you until you have finished paying for it in affordable instalments. This will guarantee that you don’t need to worry about the product to be sold out before you’re ready to make your purchase. In addition you will receive exclusive discounts by email and access to to purchase private products that are not available at the web shop.
For the time being you can also get a free trial of the the “programme” for 30 days before starting to pre-pay instalments towards the purchase of any of the store’s higher priced items such as for example the briefcases or laptop portfolios. Check the website for further details.