Words By Laurence Culloty – The Gentleman’s Grooming Show
When people talk about grooming the first thing that springs to mind is likely to be grooming in the traditional sense. By this I mean shaving, hairstyling and fragrances. Whilst these are all very important elements to a Gentleman’s Grooming routine I have always been of the belief that grooming goes further than this. When I consider my grooming routine I think of my overall presentation and this weekend I was lucky enough to be in like –minded company when I was invited down to Shaun Gordon’s studio.
Graduating from the prestigious London College of Fashion in 2004 Shaun is an accomplished designer and craftsman. Having worked for a number of high-end brands Shaun decided to launch his own tie company in 2013
Stepping into his London studio I felt like a child at Christmas with a vast array of materials and impeccable ties at various stages of production. I was eager to find out more about Shaun Gordon ties and as he showed me round I was able to ask him number of questions.
Shaun where do you draw the inspiration for you ties?
I usually think about the Gentleman who is going to be wearing the tie. I think of his character and persona, its almost as if I play a film out in my mind. The Dark Horse collection for example is about a man who really wants to be a success in his chosen field, but for one reason or another he is an underdog. The underdog sees the way he dresses as a chance to express himself and despite the odds he wins and gets to the top. From the bold ties where he is trying to get noticed to the more classic ones for when he has made it these ties personify this character.
Will the Shaun Gordon brand always just specialise in ties or will you diversify?
Ties will always be at the core but we are looking at adding accessories such as pocket hankies and tie clips to our range in the future. I am a big fan of tie clips and am fascinated by the way people wear them. Traditionally gentlemen wore them lower down the tie, which was really more effective in serving their purpose, however the modern trend is to wear it much higher on the tie.
How long does it take you to make a tie?
This can vary a lot depending on the material used, on average though I would say about 2 hours per tie.
Do you think ties are becoming more popular again?
Yes the popularity of wearing ties will always come back round. The earliest discovery of neck-attire was discovered in the tomb of China’s first Emperor between 259 to 210BC on the statues of soldiers, which leads us to believe it was worn as a symbol of status and uniform.
Are there any designers you take inspiration from?
There are many designers I admire but I take my inspiration more from artists. I believe that ties can be a form of art and the craft that goes into a tie makes it a piece of art to be proud of. At the moment I have taken a lot of Inspiration from William Morris.
And do you try and find materials to match the art?
Yes sometimes but it is very difficult to do. I more take inspirations from the style. Moving forward I will be getting more involved in the designing of the fabrics so I will be able to match the fabrics closer to the art that I love.
Do you see a link between dress, grooming and overall presentation?
Yes grooming isn’t just limited to shaving or hair, that’s just the beginning. I believe grooming is everything to do with presentation right down to shining your shoes to placing the pocket square. When you leave your house that’s the end of grooming.
Finally, what does a tie say about a Gentlemen?
I think a tie is the missing link that can pull an outfit together. I believe a tie should enhance you look rather like women would do with jewellery. I think you can tell a lot about a gentlemen by looking at their tie. Bright colours suggests he doesn’t want to fit in and wants to stand out, with the more classic ties I look closer at the details and I believe it says whether he is on top of his game in terms of presentation or has fallen at the last hurdle. I think ties say a lot!
I had a great afternoon with Shaun and it was fascinating to watch the process of making the ties. What I found that is really special about the ties is that he hand sews all of them. They are also limited and you will have the hand written serial number on your tie. Whether you wear ties every day or just occasionally I believe a Shaun Gordon tie would be a fantastic addition to your wardrobe.