Here at DPJ, we like to say, “A man can never own too many bow ties.” Okay, so maybe that doesn’t really get thrown around at the office, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
If the special man in your life doesn’t have enough (or any) handcrafted bow ties in his closet, there’s no need to fret. Dapper+Dash, a downtown Phoenix company founded by Aaron Kimberlin, is celebrating its one year anniversary by rolling out even more bow tie styles, a new feature product, Dapper+Dash Neckties, and more.
Dapper+Dash celebrates this vintage men’s accessory by adaptively reusing vintage clothing and other vintage materials to create a product as unique as the man who will wear it. They begin with the essentials. Only the best vintage ties and materials are considered. Once they pass the test, these materials, often found buried in closets and long forgotten, find new life. The materials are cleaned, re-purposed, cut by hand and stitched into one of three patterns to create dapper bow ties for a dashing man. Each tie comes with a convenient instruction card as well as the original fabric label as a reminder of the “old-world textile experience.”
The 1 Year Anniversary of Dapper+Dash brings together formal wear, food and community to celebrate one of this growing online haberdashery. The event will feature new products by Dapper+Dash on the site of Phoenix’s original menswear store, now restaurant, Hanny’s.
It also serves as the launch to a Kickstarter campaign created in partnership with local graphic designer, filmmaker and 2013 TED Fellow, Safwat Saleem, to raise funds for a new subscription service.
According to Kimberlin, “We are developing a monthly subscription service providing bow ties and neck ties sent right to you door. Dapper+Dash subscribers pick out their ties on the company’s website and place them on a list. They are delivered with an enclosed, prepaid envelope for return. Subscribers can keep the ties they pick for the month, or return them to get new ones delivered.”
The community is encouraged to come out and celebrate this haberdashery in style over food, drinks and music. To further engage Dapper+Dash fans, customers are invited to bring one necktie in exchange for $10.00 off a Dapper+Dash handcrafted bow tie or handcrafted necktie.
If you go
Event: 1 Year Anniversary
When: Friday, March 22, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: Hanny’s, 40 N. First Street
Photos Jason and Anna Photography.
Look out Pee Wee Herman, bow ties are no longer an instant sign of nerd-dom.
The past few years have seen an increase in sales of bow ties to 20-something year old men who have incorporated the tie’s classic, old-fashioned sensibilities into their own modern style. The question is, “are bow ties back?” To which the only response can be, “were they ever gone?”
Bow ties were popular in the early and mid 20th century, worn by notables such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, and comic book character Archie, all influential men who stood apart from their contemporaries; but by the 1970s, bow ties had become associated with bookish Poindexters and stuffy intellectuals. Today, the bow tie renaissance is in full swing, a backlash perhaps against men’s clothing being too casual for too long. Young men of a new generation are voting with their dollars for bow ties, choosing to dress with purpose and individual style.
Popular musicians and actors have been photographed donning bow ties with jeans and sneakers, and trendy, youth-oriented stores like Urban Outfitters carry bow ties, as do designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
As Dr. Who often reminds us, “bow ties are cool.” They are an accessory, a finishing touch to an outfit, and a bold statement. Men who wear bow ties are passionate about them because a bow tie says more than any other piece of clothing; it implies the man wearing it is daring and confident, a man of independent thought, separate from the conformity of the regular necktie pack. People recognize and remember the man in a stylish bow tie.
Based on sales, young men in Washington D.C., New York and Boston have embraced bow ties; sales have also been brisk in college towns. In the next few months, Downtown Phoenix advocate and Assistant Director at Phoenix Urban Research Lab, Aaron Kimberlin is bringing the bow tie movement to Phoenix with Dapper+Dash, a small business that reconstructs bow ties from vintage materials.
A Modern Twist
“I was given a multitude of mid-1960′s to 1970′s ties that were just too wide for a modern day tie. My notion was that everything, including fashion, is cyclical, so I wanted to create a product that celebrated a vintage men’s accessory by adaptively reusing clothing goods and vintage materials.”
With the idea to construct and design a product from local materials with local talent, Dapper + Dash was born. They begin with the essentials by searching for the highest quality materials, often found buried and forgotten in closets. Each piece of material is considered before being repurposed, then cut into one of three bow tie patterns named after three distinct bow tie wearers: the Huckleberry, Churchill, and Dagwood.
Each pattern is then stitched by hand in Downtown Phoenix. The packaging is also produced locally: each bow tie will come in a handcrafted cylindrical tube, stamped with the Dapper+Dash logo, and sold at local vintage clothing stores and on the company website.
Some large department stores sell bow ties for prices reaching as high as $100. That’s too much says Kimberlin, who is aiming to keep the cost per bow tie below $50.
Bow Ties + Bikes… Bow Ties + Beer… Bow Ties + Baking…
There is no reason to wear a bow tie unless you plan to tie it yourself, which is not the daunting task it may seem. Thanks to YouTube, a variety of videos can help unravel the mystery. Wearing a pre-tied bow tie is like “letting another man forge your signature” says Alan Flusser, author of Style & The Man. Like learning to tie a shoe, tying a bow tie takes some practice, but once mastered, the skill is not forgotten.
What do you do once you’ve acquired the skill of tying a bow tie? Besides just wearing it to work or for a night on the town, Kimberlin is planning to incorporate the bow tie into community events as well.
For example, one idea is a night called “bow ties and beer” where bow tie enthusiasts and their dates meet up for drinks and classy conversation. Or how about “bow ties and bikes” where you could show off that new bow tie while biking through historic Downtown Phoenix neighborhoods? Bow ties and baseball? Bow ties and baking? Why not?
“The alliteration comes with a great pairing. Why not look stylish when you are enjoying some of your favorite activities?” Kimberlin said.
In addition to creating products that can help a man look debonair, Kimberlin is also looking to partner with local businesses and non-profit organizations to “achieve a basic rule with Dapper+Dash” of having 10% of sales be donated to non-profits.
“I am currently still working on partnerships in this collaborative,” he said.
Bow ties, like Downtown, are both historic and modern, complicated yet simple, distinctive but misunderstood. Bow ties have never quite been out of fashion, underappreciated perhaps, but never gone. Those who wear them embrace both the history and the intrepid style a bow tie represents, just like devoted Downtowners embrace the history and bold opportunity of modern Phoenix.
If you go
Event: Dapper+Dash Grand Kick-off Affair
Date: Saturday, March 3
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: The Mercantile, 828 N. Central Ave. (Map)
The Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory is extending an invitation to help brainstorm new solutions for a better Phoenix.
RetroPHX, a play on the word retrofit, is an ideas and design competition site sponsored by the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL), an extension of Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. According to Aaron Kimberlin, Assistant Director of PURL, “RetroPHX focuses on new and innovative concrete ideas that can be made at the parcel, block and regional level.”
Anyone from students to professionals and from visitors to residents can submit their design ideas at RetroPHX.com. The site, which is simple to understand and use, features a map of Phoenix and a list of idea categories.
To submit an idea, participants complete an online form with information such as proposed location, summary of the idea and various categories to file it under. Ideas can be submitted through May 1.
“We are looking for thought-out ideas that can make Phoenix unique, interconnected and sustainable,” said Kimberlin.
Those ideas include creating high speed transit trains on existing freeway systems, better insulating house to save electricity, and transforming garages to mini-businesses.
RetroPHX was inspired by New York’s “By the City For the City” design and ideas competition. “By the City For the City” offers cash prizes and features a similar user interface.
To ensure that RetroPHX doesn’t just become a graveyard of ideas, PURL will engage practicing professionals and students across the nation to respond to these ideas in the second phase of RetroPHX.
Eventually all of the ideas, proposals and designs will be consolidated into a book.
PURL’s goal is to “generate innovative solutions that have true impact on the quality of our urban environment.” The organization does this through research, coursework and public programming.
Kimberlin hinted that RetroPHX will play a bigger role in April, with the first ever Phoenix Urban Design Week. More details are to follow.
If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could enhance the Downtown Phoenix landscape, now’s your chance to propose your ideas.
The Phoenix Urban Research Lab at Arizona State University recently announced a call for artists and designers to re-imagine its 20-foot by 20-foot model of Downtown Phoenix, which has been an important tool in discussions about the city’s development.
“We want to engage local and national talent to do this, helping us think of new ways to use the model to address the central role of design and place-making in the achievement of sustainable urbanism,” PURL’s website states.
Assistant Director Aaron Kimberlin says PURL has never done this process before and he is excited to see the ideas people come up with.
“Right now it’s a stagnant model that only serves basically one purpose and that’s just to show the scale of downtown,” he says. “I believe that it should integrate more technology and it should be enhancing the numerous ideas that the city has.”
The model, which was built by ASU students, cannot be changed or deconstructed, but additions and improvements can be made. The current model is made up of more than 20 tiles, but the original only had about six to eight tiles.
“It has its constraints, but I think in order to work with those constraints you have to get creative, and that’s why we went for an ‘all call’ of designers and artists,” Kimberlin says.
All proposals must be submitted by January 15 and three finalists will be selected on February 15, according to the website. The public will vote via Facebook and Twitter to determine the finalists, who will each win a $250 prize and whose designs will be featured at the opening reception of PURL’s Urban Design Week in April. The three finalists will also meet with PURL staff to discuss the implementation of their projects.
President Michael Crow and Wellington “Duke” Reiter, the former dean of ASU’s College of Design, launched PURL in 2005 as a place to conduct research regarding the Phoenix metropolitan area. The program consists of design professionals as well as undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students ranging from urban planning to architecture to landscape architecture.
Kimberlin says PURL, which is located in the 1928 Security Building at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street, has been instrumental in downtown Phoenix planning and was one of the main players in organizing ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus. The lab also works on ongoing initiatives that acknowledge various issues in the Phoenix metropolitan area by providing innovative solutions to improve the urban environment.
Submission details are here.
Aaron Kimberlin is out to blaze his own trail in Phoenix. One way he’s doing that is with his super cool 416-square-foot guest house in the historic Willo neighborhood.
It’s so cool, in fact, that it has been selected as one of nine finalists in the Tiny category in Apartment Therapy’s nationwide Seventh Annual Smallest Coolest Home Contest.
For Kimberlin, it’s not about winning the award. He’s aiming for a much bigger prize.
He explains: “First and foremost, I want to play an important role revitalizing Phoenix as an urban center, and a key role in that effort, I believe, is living in the central core and inhabiting a small space.”
Of course, small spaces are not what Phoenix is known for. Wide expanses, resort-sized homes and sprawl are the things that come to most people’s minds when they think of Phoenix.
That’s why we’re extra proud of what Kimberlin has done with his tiny guest house. The way he has embraced his small space is something new for Phoenix, and he knows it.
“I believe that for my generation, Gen Y, living in the Valley means striving for something new,” Kimberlin says. “We want mobility, we want affordability and we want efficiency.”
Be sure to vote for this fantastic little space and show the rest of the country what the “new Phoenix” is all about! Vote for Kimberlin’s guest house here now through May 1 at 9 a.m.!